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Queensland Theatre's controversial world premiere

Billed as the first trans love story on the Australian mainstage, Triple X is written by (and stars) New York-based Australian performer/playwright/screenwriter/comedienne, Glace Chase and runs from 6 March to 1 April in Queensland Theatre’s Bille Brown Theatre.

Finally making its world premiere after being shu tdown by the pandemic in 2020, Triple X examines the relationship between straight ‘Wall Street banker bro’, Scotty (Josh McConville, Top End Wedding, STC’s Cat on a Hot Tim Roof), and Dexie (Chase), a trans performer with whom he starts an affair, just a few months out from his wedding to his ‘perfect’ fiancée.

Says Chase, “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’. I think very few people have any concept of what a romantic relationship looks like between a trans person and those interested in them.

“It’s a unique story and it’s 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. I think the general public still struggles to fully understand the trans experience, but I think they want to. Hopefully this will help.”

Triple X also stars Queensland Theatre multi-award winners Christen O’Leary (Antigone, Mouthpiece), as Scotty’s mum, Deb, and Elijah Williams (in his Queensland Theatre debut) as his best mate, Jase. Also making her debut with the Company is Contessa Treffone (STC’s Lord of the Flies and The Harp in the South) in the role of Scotty’s sister, Claire.

It’s not surprising that a show called Triple X includes some eye-popping sex scenes and real talk, but ultimately is born from a place of truth.

“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. We so often exist in the shadows. I wanted to be brutally honest and make people experience what it’s like from the inside,” explains the two-time Griffin Award winner.

Whilst the story is Chase’s own and has earned her international recognition as a 2021 finalist in the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women playwrights, she freely admits Triple X would not have made it to the stage without the unwavering dramaturgical and personal support of Director, Paige Rattray.

Says Rattray, “Glace is one of the most entertaining but also profound writers I’ve worked with. It can be an unusual combination; often comedy can overtake tragedy or vice versa. Glace rides this wave expertly in Triple X.

“I think only someone with Glace’s lived experience would be able to navigate that trickiness within this particular narrative. The toxic masculinity, examination of societal ‘norms’, gender politics and love; it’s all woven together expertly. Working with Glace on this play has definitely changed the way I think about the world and I feel very lucky.”

For Lee Lewis, Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre, being able to see Chase take that curtain call on Opening Night will be the happy ending to a 12-month rollercoaster no one imagined when she joined the Company in 2020.

“We had two enormously successful preview performances. Then horribly, I had to gather the cast, creatives and crew and share the awful news that the production was shutting down. It was one of the most difficult, dreadful moments of my career,” she reflects.

“To have this story, such an important and vital play for our times, not proceed was devasting. The silver lining, while I was so new to the Queensland Theatre community, was witnessing the extraordinary generosity from our audience. They were the shining light in dark times.”

“COVID-19 continues to be so unpredictable, so to finally see Triple X back on the Bille Brown Theatre stage will be a joyous moment for audiences as much as the artists — I simply can’t wait,” Lewis said.

TRIPLE X by Glace Chase. Directed by Paige Rattray. A Sydney Theatre Company co-production. 6 March to 1 April 2021, Bille Brown Theatre, South Brisbane


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