The Naked I: Insides Out – Get to Know Manitou Love

This winter, 20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present the world premiere of The Naked I: Insides Out – the 3rd in a series of Naked I plays that explore queer and trans* experiences through monologues, short scenes, and spoken word poems. The show was created over the past year by selecting 25 of 119 stories submitted by community members. This newest installment of The Naked I will involve over 75 LGBTQ artists and allies – including contributing writers, directors, performers, designers, technicians and supporting staff.

You can see The Naked I: Insides Out February 13-23, 2014 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Purchase tickets now!

Over the past couple of months we have conducted interviews with a variety of The Naked I: Insides Out artists.  Last but not least in this series, we asked Manitou Love what he had to say about The Naked I: Insides Out.

manitoupic

What attracted you to audition for The Naked I: Insides Out?

I have wanted to get back into acting for a long time, and it goes concurrently with my desire to explore the aspects of my soul that are masculine and to reclaim masculinity as something beautiful. My name, Manitou Love, reflects this.


Have you ever acted before? If so, in what? When?

Lots of acting as a teenager (I was groomed by Central Touring Theatre in high school), and when I was 18, I was one of two leads in a film about gay youth. It’s now kind of a cult classic, and there are even bits of it on YouTube.


What is your role with the The Naked I: Insides Out? What do you like most about the piece(s) you are working on and your relationship to them (as performer)?

My role is in Body Unfolding by Charles Ely, directed by Brianna Olson-Carr. I identify with the piece, with its passion, anger, and truth.


Had you ever seen any version of The Naked I before?

Nope. I wish I had!


What about this production excites you most?

I’m amazed at the depth of trans/queer beauty, community, and talent associated with this production and am honored to be a part of it. One of the primary reasons I am an artist is because art builds community, and has the potential to change the world.


What do you hope/think audiences will take away from seeing your piece in The Naked I: Insides Out?

I hope they will understand that we are real people. As for my piece, it is our intention that we do justice to the power of Charles’ writing.


More about Manitou, the person…


What is your personal pronoun preference?

He or she.


What is your first memory of gender?

My first memory was of acting out my gender in ways that were non-conforming as a child, and wondering why it mattered.


If your gender identity was a food, what would it be?

A creamy, delicious (and healthy) organic vegan fruit smoothie.


You feel the most naked when…

I’m expressing myself on stage in front of people. (But I like being naked.)


What do you do in the world, outside of working on this production? (job/hobbies, etc.)

I am a freelance radio producer, I am outside a lot (nature is my church), I’m in the process of finishing college, and I perform as a drag queen named Delilah Lightful a/k/a Rainbow Spirit Woman, through which I radiate the light of my heart in honor of the divine feminine. I am constantly writing and I hope to publish my work as a semi-autobiography/collection of poetry and prose. My second home is in the land of father, off the southern shores of Lake Superior.


What if the concept of gender didn’t exist? How would that change your life?

Wow, if the binary gender system didn’t exist, I would have never felt the need to fit completely into one gender or another. In an old way traditional Native North American society, for example, I would have been identified as a winkte (a two-spirit medicine man), and groomed as such, with a special place of honor within my tribe. But as someone raised white middle class in a Western society, the binary is pretty solidly defined, so I had some very difficult choices to make. My journey has definitely not been easy, but it has been worth it every step of the way because my soul has embraced the lessons learned.


What is your most favorite accessory or article of clothing?

My winter coat. It is masculine and warm!


Name one of your favorite songs right now.

Every single song by Emeli Sande! She is the most amazing singer/songwriter
perhaps ever, and her music is healing the world right now. Of course, she struggles
to receive airplay in the U.S., despite having the #1 album of 2012 and 2013 in
the U.K. Choice cuts: Heaven, Wonder, Mountains, More Than Anything,
My Kind Of Love, Lifted.

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The Naked I: Insides Out – Get to Know Beckett Love

This winter, 20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present the world premiere of The Naked I: Insides Out – the 3rd in a series of Naked I plays that explore queer and trans* experiences through monologues, short scenes, and spoken word poems. The show was created over the past year by selecting 25 of 119 stories submitted by community members. This newest installment of The Naked I will involve over 75 LGBTQ artists and allies – including contributing writers, directors, performers, designers, technicians and supporting staff.

You can see The Naked I: Insides Out February 13-23, 2014 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Purchase tickets now!

Leading up to the run of the show, we have been featuring interviews with a variety of The Naked I: Insides Out artists.  We recently asked Beckett Love what they had to say about The Naked I: Insides Out.
beckettphoto

What is your role in The Naked I: Insides Out? What pieces will you be directing?  

I am a director. As is indicated by the following question, to which the answer is: What It’s Like (better known as the Intro) and Just Draggin’ Along.

What attracted you to The Naked I directing opportunity?

One day, as I was platonically scrolling through okcupid profiles, I came across a user that encouraged all viewers to come out and support said individual in their performance in a 20% production. I said I would go, and as I am a queer of my word, I went. The rest, as they say, is history.

Briefly, what is your directing background? Education? Experience?

Brief. Ok. I studied theatre in college, mostly design and tech, but I really fell in love with playwrighting and directing. I worked, for a time, at a theatre in San Diego, getting a taste of professional theatre outside of college. After taking a bit of a break to try on an odd assortment of other professions, I naturally and inevitably return now to my first love.

Had you ever seen any version of The Naked I before?

I have not! Total rookie. But I’m getting to see plenty of it this time.

What about this production and opportunity excites you most? 

Adult content, sexual situations, profanity, and potential nudity! Ok, ok, to be serious for a second. This production comes at a really interesting and transitional time in my life. I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions, searching for which box to check and which jeopardy category to fall under. There’s such a wide spectrum represented, each validated and held before the audience, saying in so many different voices: “I am human, and I will not be contained in your box!” When you grow up with only boxes, the wide open spaces are that much more exciting to explore, and that much more a shelter to feel at home in. Being a part of this queer theatre community has been affirming, comforting, and enlightening. That’s what I love about this production.

What do you hope to contribute to the show?

Honestly, one can only hope to honor the writer’s voice. I want to share my part of the larger story, without making it about me. I want the audience to see a little of themselves somewhere in the show and come away saying:”Yeah! Yeah, I’m me, and that’s beautiful!”

What have been your biggest challenges in directing for this show or with these specific pieces?

Realistically, scheduling. While most pieces have two or three actors, I have seven, and then one in the other piece. That’s the most obvious answer. Other than that, I think this whole process has been eye-opening as to the stereotyping and prejudice that happens within our own community, whether conscious of it or not. That’s what the intro really deals with. We judge, we group, we assume. For me, my goal with my actors has been to embrace all the different variations with respect and inclusiveness. My cast has done that so well. Each rehearsal, I’m more and more in love with them, and watching them together has taught me so much. We’re like a weird, awkward, funny group of uber cool nerds who have become this oddball family. We’re like the gay Brady Bunch.

More about Beckett the person…

What is your pronoun preference?

Thaaaaat’s not certain. So gender neutral at this point. They/them. Thee/thou if you want to get fancy.

If your gender identity was a food, what would it be?  

Drambuie whiskey, double, on the rocks. Wait, that’s not food, is it? Ummm, Lays potato chips. “Betcha can’t have just one!”

What do you do in the world, outside of working on this production? (job/hobbies, etc.)  

Well, I’m about to sound like a huge geek. I work in nuclear medicine. Yeah, you probably want to just ask in person. Other than that… I read, I write, I cook and frequent Trader Joe’s and farmer’s markets, I look for good happy hours in uptown. Basically copy and paste typical okcupid profile.

Beckett, you feel the most naked when…

Public restrooms. Getting carded. However, I got pulled over by a cop not too long ago for a headlight out (because the drunk drivers down the street were not as big of a threat….just sayin), and the cop kept calling me “sir” before finally looking at my license. Ensue blushing, stammering, and befuddled cop as he apologized and tried to explain why I was pulled over. Meanwhile, I’m grinning from ear to ear at his misstep, thinking, “Yeah. Yeah, you go on with your bad self. I’m listening. Ha. No, no I’m not, but keep going.” So that was a naked/revealing moment…but it was fun. Naked can definitely be fun.

What is your first memory of gender?

Very young, actually. Pete’s Dragon…you know, the movie. I wanted to be Pete. I would daydream and visualize myself like him, until one day, I realized that I was very much not Pete nor could I be him. For some reason, that was really difficult to swallow.

What is your most favorite accessory or article of clothing?

Shoes. Boots. Nothing defines the outfit more. I can get obsessed. It’s not healthy.

Name one of your favorite songs right now.

Sean Hayes, always and forever. His song Turn Around, Turn Me On….so much sexy.

The Naked I: Insides Out – Get to Know Liana Yang

This winter, 20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present the world premiere of The Naked I: Insides Out – the 3rd in a series of Naked I plays that explore queer and trans* experiences through monologues, short scenes, and spoken word poems. The show was created over the past year by selecting 25 of 119 stories submitted by community members. This newest installment of The Naked I will involve over 75 LGBTQ artists and allies – including contributing writers, directors, performers, designers, technicians and supporting staff.

You can see The Naked I: Insides Out February 13-23, 2014 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. Purchase tickets now!

Over the next several weeks, we will be featuring interviews from a variety of The Naked I: Insides Out artists.  We recently asked Liana Yang what she had to say about The Naked I: Insides Out.
Liana

What attracted you to audition for The Naked I: Insides Out?

I can still recall the first time I saw The Naked I: Wide Open in 2012, I felt so at home and inspired by the stories and its performers that needless to say, my life was changed forever. I auditioned because I wanted to be a part of something that had affected me so deeply and on such a personal and spiritual level, that when I am listening to, watching, or performing these stories, it feels to me like such an honor and privilege to be able to share it with the outside world; the thoughts and feelings of my internal world.

Have you ever acted before? If so, in what? When?

That’s a funny question, my knee jerk reply would be to say “no” as I have had no experience with formal training in acting.  However, when my wits overpower my senses to be more serious, I would jokingly say, “why yes, I have been acting for most of my life as the person that society wanted to cage me up into being.”

Jokes aside, I have had very little acting experience, the last acting performance that I gave was when I was in 4th grade.

What is your role in The Naked I: Insides Out? What do you like most about the piece you are working on and your relationship to it as a performer?

People who come to see the show will see me in act called “He calls me mama” written by Zealot Hamm.  On the day of the audition, it was this particular piece that resonated with me on such a personal level that I wanted so bad to have the part. What I love most about this piece is that in its own unique way, it allows the audience to see and experience the world of motherhood through the eyes of a transgendered woman.  It addresses common fears and misconceptions while still connecting the audience with the common experiences that all women share as mothers.

Had you ever seen any version of The Naked I before? If so, what were your thoughts?

Yes, I am a proud audience member of the last production, The Naked I: Wide Open. I remember arriving at the theatre on a cold winter’s night and as the show started, I was entranced by the performances and the touching stories.  I remember crying, laughing, being angry at the world, then feeling inspired and validated by the end of the night.

I never would have dreamed that I would become a part of this production. As person who believes in destiny, I believe that this was all meant to be. I hope to take this opportunity to inspire others the way I have been inspired.

What about this production excites you most?

Everything excites me about this production, seeing so many talented artists working on their pieces is really inspiring.  However, something that is especiallyimportant for me is the journey onto the stage: meeting with my director, learning about theatre, discovering new things about myself and my own potential really begs for me to keep digging deeper.

There is simply something unique, cathartic and powerful about being moved by a powerful script while in the presence of its actors or actresses. I truly believe that real life for the members of the audience can change in one night through the performing arts.

What do you hope/think audiences will take away from seeing  your piece in The Naked I: Insides Out?

I hope that the audience is able to connect with my character, I hope that they are able to connect with her enough to feel comfortable with the idea of considering her a close friend or even a family member. I hope that the audience can take home the fact individuals who fall within the TQLGB spectrum are not people with labels; they are just like everyone else.

I hope that my piece can help contribute to peoples’ acceptance of the fact that transgender families are not that much different from the average, and that the daily realities that transgender parents experience for their children such as love, care, responsibility and accountability are the same as everyone else’s.

More about Liana, the person…

What is your personal pronoun preference?

I am most definitely woman, I do prefer to be addressed with pronouns that are aligned with being one: She/her/sexy babe/Asian Unicorn are all acceptable.

What is your first memory of gender?

I think my earliest memory of gender was when I was 4 or 5 years old.  Every time I visited my auntie, she would bring me to her room and show me her new dresses. Despite feeling happy and excited for her, I also felt sad, frustrated, and confused as to why it was not okay for me to have pretty little dresses and Jelly sandals like all the other girls.

If your gender identity was a food, what would it be?

This is a hard one…I would say something like a Red Velvet cake. But I think this may be more due to the fact that red is my favorite color and that I love cakes and…feel for a slice or three as of this interview.

You feel the most naked when…

I feel most naked when close family and friends slip and identify me by the wrong gender pronoun.  Having said that, I am patient, understanding, and love them all unconditionally.

What do you do in the world, outside of working on this production?

I am a business owner along with my wife.  We are also both students and I am finishing up my master’s degree in clinical counseling.  Throughout the week, if I’m not at my office or in class, I am providing therapy for clients.

I have many hobbies, with acting as one that is currently at the top. I have a passion for training dogs, rescuing, and rehabilitating them so they can be re-homed with appropriate families.

So, if you see an Asian woman riding a tricycle with a pack of dogs attached to it at the local parks, don’t forget to wave.

What if the concept of gender didn’t exist? How would that change your life?

I think then I would have transitioned very early on in my life, most likely before the age of ten.  I come to this conclusion because I’m assuming that if the concept of gender did not exist as it does today; my parents and everyone else would have had no qualms about me putting on a pretty little blue dress and pink Jelly sandals way back when I was a little girl.

What is your most favorite accessory or article of clothing?

I love shoes and bags, I know that it’s such as typical response coming from a woman but, I’m just saying that what I wear for the day is pretty much determined by which pair of shoes I feel like wearing and or which bag I feel like carrying.

Name one of your favorite songs right now.

Songs that are on my playlist on repeat right now are…
One Way Love by Hyolyn and Hero by Family of the Year.