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Review: Spork! LGBTQ+ edition

Written by ExTS Reviewer Rebekah Horton

Come As You Are is a festival of performances that explore into the themes and issues surrounding gender identity. It is presented by Camden People's Theatre and is a celebration of LGBT, non-binary, trans and gender queer theatre and performers. This LGBTQ+ special edition of the monthly event Spork was the second performance that I attended. It included spoken-word, poetry and story-telling.

Upon entering, the stage was lit using pink backlights, which reminded me of the theme of gender stereotypes, and props were minimal with only a microphone and stand, keeping an intimate relationship with the audiences.

The first performer, Jaime, used metaphors such as describing her niece as Peter Pan and her first kiss with honey. I enjoyed her poem about Peter Pan because it clearly challenged the representations of how to be a girl or boy. In society, it is teaching young generation the stereotypical view of girls should play with dolls and boys should play football and frowns at the thought of their roles being reversed. I felt engaged because some of the words created nostalgic images in my head. For example, one of the poems included hula hoops as a metaphor for wedding rings. I enjoyed the simplicity of Jaime’s poems because she had a good voice and use of hand gestures for storytelling.

Antonio was another performer who used comedy to blend in with deep controversial topics. She explored into the themes of politics, representation on media and plastic surgery and men's treatment towards women. I felt that I was connected more to Antonio's poetry because of her comedic timing and authentic way in performing her creative work. Her work made me think back to when I was a teenager and comparing myself to other women in magazines and social media. I found myself agreeing with Antonio's poetry on shared opinions about plastic surgery, and the importance of loving yourself inside and out.

Spork has succeeded in presenting engaging material and reflecting on today's society because though there has been some progress in challenging the pressure of being 'normal', the journey to abolish stereotypes still continues. In society, there are still many cases of hate crimes and education is essential to support many communities. Spork also showed the importance of sharing personal stories in order to connect with society and raise awareness in accepting the fact that everyone is unique.

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