Men Express Their Feelings releasing as a three episode audio comedy drama online for everyone Nov 15, with live listening parties in Calgary Nov 12-14
When I tell people I wrote a comedy called MEN EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS they often say "wow, it must be really short!"
It turns out it took three episodes just to get it started.
"Juggles so many insights into the notions of masculinity"
"Wildly, unabashedly funny"
That was what the Calgary Herald had to say about the world premiere with Downstage last year just before the lock down. I had a blast adapting it into an audio drama this year, working again with Downstage and director Clare Preuss.
How exactly do you write an (ice) hockey play when grew up in hot Australia? I played and coached field hockey for 10 years and with 4 older brothers who all played rugby, our household was sports obsessed. But I’ve only been ice skating a handful of times in my life, so I'm totally in awe that hockey players get out on a slippery surface with blades on the bottom of their shoes and achieve anything other than NOT DYING.
Hockey can be awesome: the fast pace and energy, comradery, skill and strategy. And hockey culture can also be brutal, crushing and hostile. I have similarly complicated feelings about masculinity and so writing a hockey play felt like the right choice for MEN EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS.
My writing process involved hanging out at hockey games, talking with hockey guys, doing online research, and having hockey consultants.
It also involved channeling my own experience into the work. I was kind of nervous to be out in the press as a trans man and also as an effeminate man – I’m probably the guy you walked past on the street in a loud fluro yellow leopard print sweater and turquoise short shorts. These parts of myself give me particular insights into the themes in the work, since I’ve had a wide range of gender experiences in my life. Who gets let in to the locker rooms of masculinity–and the entry costs and member benefits–have been lifetime studies for me. Yet I was initially hesitant to acknowledge that I’m trans, worried that some cis men might try to discredit my attempts to playfully re-envision masculinity by claiming I’m “not a real man”.
Here’s the irony: this fear is one of the biggest things I have in common with most cis men, who are continually pressured to live up to the ideals of masculinity, or risk being “not real men”.
So I take this risk–and the risks of this play–alongside and in support of every man and masculine person who’s been afraid to speak up, every one of you who’s been put down, every one of you who yearns for something different–even if you haven’t had the language for that yet. More and more men and masculine people are realizing the enormous costs of these narrow ideals of masculinity–so let’s be not-real-men, together. Or better yet, let’s rewrite the playbooks for masculinity and being men.
Oh, and let’s have some laughs while we’re doing it.
ABOUT THE SHOW:
A comedy about hockey, culture and relationships. Two dads and their sons are sequestered to a hockey rink dressing room to sort out a critical situation. Amidst a series of wild misunderstandings and ridiculous antics, these guys get to know each other and themselves a whole lot better, while redefining what it means to WIN.
WHERE TO LISTEN:
EVERYONE: the full episodes will be available to listen for free here after Nov 15.
CALGARY: in-person listening parties Nov 12-14 with Downstage at Arts Commons, with beer tastings and other show inspired activities in between episodes - click on the button below.
Access: a transcript will be provided on request - email sunny at sunnydrake dot com