Buzzcut Ahoy!

Following on from Lorna Irvine’s article on The List, the line-up for Buzzcut 2016 reveals a shared interest in gender identity and sexuality amongst many of the performers. The current enthusiasm for gender-as-cool-subject-to-shout-about-on-YouTube notwithstanding, the performative potential of masculine/feminine dualism is clearly seductive…

I mean, sorry… that theatre is a great place to discuss what it means to be a man, or a woman, or gender fluid, or Uranian, or…

It’s hardly an accident that David Bowie is the most requested musician on my radio show by guests. His influence on theatre and live art could be seen as an inevitable consequence of his chameleon-like shifting of personae, or just that he managed to be a pop star without being a masculine dick. But maybe his mystique lies in his ability to perform gender identities. While his work was carried out in a far more public manner than the artists at Buzzcut (that’s not a diss, more people watched Top of the Pops than will be going to The Pearce Institute next weekend), the pieces offered by Katy Dye, Rachael Young, Platform III et al continue Bowie’s play with identity.

Although ‘queer theatre’ is easily dismissed by people who, probably, don’t understand it, and my dear friends on the Manosphere will probably piss their pants just reading the tags on the interviews with these artists, gender identity might be the only game in town for artists. Defining the current debate about feminisms, queer presence and male privilege is difficult, especially since I am weening myself off watching idiots on YouTube. But gender is a performance, right? Aristotle says we learn by imitating. When I put on my latest suit out of the charity shop, I am putting on a costume of masculinity.

It’s a small step to just put that on the stage. Buzzcut has got a programme that goes into it. Of course, the five star performance will be me, when I turn up in a three piece and do my gangster voice (intimate one-on-ones are available), but run through the line-up. Especially if you think masculinity is about being a tough guy, or feminity is about having gurt stonkers. You might learn something.

It’s a small step to just put that on the stage. Buzzcut has got a programme that goes into it. Of course, the five star performance will be me, when I turn up in a three piece and do my gangster voice (intimate one-on-ones are available), but run through the line-up. Especially if you think masculinity is about being a tough guy, or feminity is about having gurt stonkers. You might learn something.

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