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1st February 2015

Review: Tuesdays at Tescos

Tuesdays at Tescos shows the life and struggle of a transgender woman who tries to get accepted as a daughter by her father. The one-hour monologue gives the audience a sense of the difficulties transgender people have to face every day, writes Camilla Lindner

Tuesday. Pauline is sitting on the train which is heading to where her father lives. She looks out of the window and watches the passing landscape. She crosses her legs and puts her hands on her short red skirt. When the train slows down and suddenly stops, she gets up and walks towards her father’s flat.

The one-woman theatre play is written by French dramatic adviser Emmanuel Darley and is directed by Sue Womersley. It is a one hour monologue performed by a transgender woman who visits her father every Tuesday. Pauline, who is played brilliantly by Scott Kentell, cleans the flat and does the weekly shopping at Tesco accompanied by her father. Kentell manages to draw in the audience with her persuasive presence on stage in a red skirt, blouse and high-heels, and the simple props of a chair and a white screen behind her.

The monologue shows the constant struggle of a transgender person and her old and grumpy father, who only sees Paul, not Pauline. It emphasises that although Pauline is and never felt like Paul, she still has to deal with the fact that those surrounding her ‘know’ who she is or who she has been. The security guard at the entry of Tesco doesn’t even look at her, the woman at the till greets her with ‘Good morning gentleman’ and the neighbour asks Pauline if she really is Paul. On the way back home, her father keeps his distance from her.

The play makes the audience aware of the daily situations in which Pauline struggles because of people staring at her and making her feel like a misfit, a ‘different’ person within a seemingly sorted society. It shows how deeply Pauline wishes to be able to live an ordinary life and how much she fights for this. As long as her father refuses to accept her as his daughter, the people on the streets and in Tesco will not do so.

But there is a hint of some acceptance for transgender women within society; on the way back home, Pauline and her father meet one woman who is apparently a friend of the father. She greets Pauline with her ‘real’ name and talks to her in a friendly way. Those seemingly ordinary acts are really extraordinary because this woman respects Pauline for who she is and who she has always been on the outside and inside and for what she struggles to be recognised as such: a woman.

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