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Transforming theatre, transcending love: Triple X finally lifts off

Culture

Transgender performer Glace Chase had a very personal stake – as actor and playwright – in her autobiographical rom-com Triple X, which debuted to a standing ovation at Queensland Theatre’s Bille Brown Theatre on Thursday night.

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The play – which previewed in 2020 but was promptly halted by COVID – returned with a vengeance when it finally made it on stage.

Triple X charts the illicit affair between Scotty, a straight finance-bro who works on Wall Street, and Dexie, a trans nightclub artist and New York City hustler.

Chase, the show’s playwright and lead performer, said the show was very personal for her because Dexie is her autobiographical creation.

“I wanted to tell a love story, a true story that I don’t think a lot of people have really ever thought about – or if they had – probably made assumptions about,” Chase said.

“It is a unique story and it is mainly from the point of view of the straight guy who is romantically interested in a trans woman. We’ve never seen something empathetically explore what he and they go through.”

Chase said she chose to write a romantic comedy to thwart people’s expectations of how love stories are often told, but also because it is a genre that presents a relationship between two people where both characters are treated with equal weight and respect.

“Whilst the concept of ‘trans’ has finally hit the mainstream over the last few years, the next big story to be told is ‘trans in love’,” said Chase.

“It’s about presenting truth from the inside and making everyone else experience love how we experience it.”

The play is a brutally honest, sexually explicit, and wickedly funny rendition of trans love in the modern mode.

“In my world, people speak and act like this. I understand that it might be shocking for some, but you can’t unlink explicit sexuality from the romantic reality of many trans people’s lives,” said Chase.

“Trans people so often exist in the shadows and I think the general public still struggles to fully understand the trans experience. But I think they want to and hopefully this will help.”

Paige Rattray, Triple X’s Director, said that Chase navigates the line between comedy and tragedy in a way that many playwrights fail to balance.

“I think only someone with Glace’s lived experience would be able to navigate that trickiness within this narrative. The toxic masculinity, gender politics, the politics of love, it’s all woven together perfectly,” she said.

“Working with Glace on this play has definitely changed the way I think about the world and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”

The play was set to premiere in 2020 but fell victim to COVID after two successful preview performances.

Lee Lewis, Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre, said the moment that halted the production was awful.

“I had to gather the cast, creatives and crew and share the news. It was one of the most difficult, dreadful moments of my career,” she said.

“To have this story, such an important and vital play for our times, not proceed was devastating”

“To finally see Triple X back on the Billie Brown Theatre stage is a joyous moment for audiences as much as the artists.”

Triple X debuted at the Billie Brown Theatre on 11 March and will run until 1 April. For more information and tickets, visit the Queensland Theatre’s website.

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