What does it mean to have a voice? The answer I think can be found more steadily in the examination of the inverse, or rather: what it means to not have a voice. We stand often in social spaces and recognize that the voice is something far more significant to the experience of existence than the simple pressure of exhaled breath through the larynx to produce recognizable syntax.
Rather, the voice is the medium through which we communicate our empathy, joy, love, sorrow, despair and absolute desperation. It is in our voices that we find ourselves, lose ourselves and perform outward as ourselves in the truest form of who we are.
Having seen and experienced the Queer VOICES Theatre Project at TACAW this past weekend, I am moved to express my love and admiration for every element of the production and the transformative power of the emergent social space it facilitates; as well as herald it a masterpiece of human empathy embodied in movement, music and drama.
This production encapsulated the human experience, the human condition; that inherent social drive within every individual’s identity formation that lands on the need for self-love, self-validation and an experience of coming to know one’s self within and without. This showcase of hauntingly beautiful and deeply honest personal triumphs of the wonderfully talented cast represents the pinnacle of what it means to be human: to be yourself.
In the broader image of the queer experience, of the journey of recognizing yourself as othered, as facing the harrowing social journeys within that realization and because of it to find yourself not in a halcyon circle of perfect acceptance and love and safety, but to always be pressing forwards towards a better tomorrow. The Queer VOICES project did this loudly, proudly and in a way that could not remit a dry eye in the auditorium.
Watching it myself, I was transported by each of the talented cast members to a place of social and emotional vulnerability. Even in those short moments in the course of the performance, you find yourself engaged in a truly internal existential conversation with yourself.
The cast and crew of the production stepped far beyond entertainment and firmly rooted themselves as weavers of reflexive introspection at the forefront of their audiences. Their stories were true to the variance of the human condition and they spoke to the struggles, strife and ultimate triumphs of love in the modern age.
I cannot fully sing the praises of this absolute triumph, but to the co-directors Cassidy Willey and Art Williams, the cast and Jeanette Adams — the standup bassist. Bryan Alvarez-Terrazas, Kat Dressman, Quentin Farris, Hattie Rensberry, Dani Rivera, Micha Schoepe, Travis Wilson, stage manager, Betsy Zaubler, and designer, Gabriela Mejia, I offer nothing but my thanks for a transformative evening of introspection and meditation on the nature of being human. Your work, your art, your beauty is infinite and immortal in the minds of your audience and you have our infinite thanks for your warmth, honesty and love.