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Plan-B Theatre Company: Eric(a)

In Matthew Ivan Bennett’s one-tran show Eric(a), Teresa Sanderson plays Eric, a female-to-male pre-op transsexual giving a lecture to a support group. Eric sets out nervously to deliver a rather dry list of logical theses titled “Living Trans: An Intellectual Defense of Trans Experience,” but is soon swept up in the emotions of his experience, and instead provides an impassioned memoir that brings the audience on a journey of self-recognition and discovery.

It’s challenging material for any actor. Sanderson’s performance is multilayered and complex, as Eric relays stories from early childhood, including an LDS baptism and confirmation, through a traditional marriage and subsequent family conflicts, to coming out as trans and struggling to live a life of integrity and honesty. Sanderson projects an undeniably masculine persona, even while her character frets and worries whether that persona is masculine enough. Can Eric “pass” when he and a friend visit a popular Salt Lake City nightclub?

The production itself is bare-bones, with simple lighting, a platform with lectern, a chair and little else. But Bennett’s writing speaks for itself, and is all that’s needed for the brilliance of this remarkable, touching one-hour monologue to shine through. Bennett finds clever ways for Eric to continually break the fourth wall. In some shows, this can make for an uncomfortable and jarring audience experience, but here it serves instead to draw us closer in. Yes, it’s an intensely intimate experience, but Sanderson knows how to play to a room, and we find ourselves cheering at the triumphs and cringing at the travails of this unexpected hero. (Brandon Burt)

Date: Mar 10, 2013
Time: Times Vary
Phone: 801-355-2787
Address: 138 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 84101
Where: Rose Wagner Center