I jumped at the amazing opportunity to interview Glace Chase ahead of her brand new work Triple X, which was due to run at Bille Brown Theatre, QLD and then at The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House.
Australian born, but New York based, Glace works as a professional host for a variety of fun gigs including the award-winning world-first Drag Queen tour guide business Dream Queen Tours as well as bingo, karaoke and comedy nights. She’s also a multiple award-winning playwright, her achievements include two Griffin Awards and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.
She has been shortlisted for pretty much every other playwriting award in the country. Her plays include Whore, A Hoax, Oranges & Lemons, GULL or the lamentable comedie called love (hereto known as the Trannies’ Revenge) and Nobody’s Girl. Her plays have appeared at Griffin Theatre, Belvoir St Theatre, La Boite, The Public Theatre NYC and NJ Rep.
Knowing her achievements as a playwright, I’m surprised to find out that she is a begrudging writer. She shares with me that these days she prefers to do her storytelling verbally and being a host is her preference. If this is the case, then how did Triple X come about, I ask? As it turns out, as many of the greatest and bravest things do, it was the product of sharing trashy stories with your best friend over drinks.
Director Paige Rattray visited Glace in New York, popping up at a gig unannounced. As they caught up Glace shared a particular story of a dalliance, and in this Paige caught sight of a play, the play that would be Triple X. She persuaded Glace to come to Australia and write it. They both knew that this would be an unprecedented story, never shared before.
The narrative is about a straight guy who falls for a trans drag performer and the fallout when his family discover this prior to his wedding. Glace is candid, this play is autobiographical, and by writing it she brings an authenticity to it. When she realised it was the perfect moment in time for this story to be shared she could not say no to writing it.
In the last 3-5 years, we’ve seen trans move into the mainstream and in the last year there has been further movement on this – the romantic realities of trans in love, this is what’s breaking now. So, yes, it is the perfect moment in time to create and share this show. Audiences can see it and receive the message without the judgement that could have been there previously.
Glace describes the process of writing of Triple X as gruelling, a brutal facing of truth as she mined the relationships in her life to make it as authentic as possible. The story is desperately sad, a tough insight into trans life. It’s also a fun, funny, beautiful moving script. Glace felt the responsibility to tell the story so that it would give hope to those represented. She wanted in particular with this play to impart that they can be loved and cherished, that their relationships are possible and that they shouldn’t be shamed for who they are or the relationships they have.
The play is comedic and heightened making it less confronting (although you can still expect to cry). The characters in the play are not simple though, the main characters, Dexie and Scotty are no saints; messy and unpleasant at times. As the audience, and in real life, it’s easy to brush off the multi-dimensions of these characters – or we can take the time to see them. As we discuss this further, Glace sums it up succinctly: gender is complicated, and sexuality is more colourful than we know.
It’s not hard to comprehend that this play is on the verge of something, emitting a brave and raw energy. I ask Glace about this, “does she feel it, can she talk to it?” I can hear the emotion and exhaustion in her voice when she agrees. It comes back to making a very timely and important play, that could just as easily have not been made. Ultimately, people believe in it; Glace’s intimate sharing and her authentic voice has allowed this. Being surrounded by like-minded cast and crew has helped give birth to the specialness; Glace’s rawness paired with Paige’s commitment have drawn others in to give the same. Glace shares that this is very visible in the performances by the rest of the cast and in the production by the crew. You just need to peep the social media for the development of Triple X; previews of costume sketches, rehearsals and early scriptwriting reveal this is a big deal, the real deal.
Unfortunately at the time of publication all remaining performances of TRIPLE X have been cancelled at Queensland Theatre.
Amanda Jolly Executive Director and Lee Lewis Artistic Director at Queensland Theatre released a statement saying:
In this challenging time, all of us at Queensland Theatre are concerned for the wellbeing and long term viability of Australia’s arts community. After careful review of government guidelines and updated advice about the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our community not to go ahead with the rest of this season. Rest assured that we will be back and producing shows as soon as it is safe and advisable to do so.