Living Inside Myself | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Living Inside Myself


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LIVING INSIDE MYSELF, Bailiwick Repertory. In this solo show, writer-performer Jamie Black--a man who was born a girl--looks at how he came to recognize his gender dysphoria. Since the female-to-male transition has rarely been explored--most people who've written about being transsexual have been women who were once men--this is potentially interesting.

Black is brave to expose his experience onstage, but the show flounders. He talks about being a girl who wanted a penis and who wore Ace bandages to hide her breasts, but he glosses over the pain he must have felt as a child and breezes through his mother's seemingly easy acceptance of his transition. It seems he wants to cover his whole life here, and as directed by Rob Chambers, that approach means skating on the surface of emotion rather than delving deeply into four or five stories. Black could also have said more about his experience of the differences between the sexes or provided information for those unfamiliar with female-to-male transitions. But by merely recounting incidents from his life and never reliving his pain, he seems to be telling the story of something that happened to someone else.

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