Last night I went to see Transfigurations--Transgressing Gender in the Bible by Peterson Toscano (Blog, Twitter) at the University of Southampton.
The evening had been organised by SCM Southampton, as part of their radical, challenging, inclusive and aware mission to students at University.
Peterson, a Quirky Queer Quaker according to his Twitter, had put together a both funny and moving performance that delved into lives the gender transgressive characters in the Bible. The solo performance saw Peterson cycle through a range of characters such as Deborah, Esau, an enuch from the court of King Xerxes, who were all woven together by a character narrating through extracts from the Gospel of Thomas. The bible characters and their stories were embellished with lines taken from interviews Toscano had conducted with modern day transgender people.
Toscano is an accomplished actor, who switched seamless between the different characters. I was very impressed with the way he created a believable world with the bare minimum of set and costume. His vocal abilities were also outstanding, each accent believable and authentic.
Whilst his reading of certain bible characters as transgender is only one of many ways to see these treasured stories, it was refreshing and a pleasure to be reminded of the radical and inclusive nature of the teachings of Jesus.
We were also treated with exerpts from his other works and a question and answer session. Highly recommended.