The first part of the ritual was the coat. Black, regal, with safety pins up and down the lapels that made me feel like I was one of Shakespeare’s youths bursting at the seams with ambition. My outfit was freshly plucked off of the costume rack next to the Bookspan, like my fellow audience members. Leathers, vests, and even a sequined battle helmet complete with a blonde braid peppered the crowd. It was costume designer Uriel Gomez’s way of inviting the audience into the world of lush fabrics and textures that make up much of the world of Gender Play, or what you Will.
The second part of the ritual was the tarot card. From the twenty-two cards that comprise the Major Arcana spread across the table in the dark hall, I first selected Strength, feeling the edges of the sturdy paper in my hand. I then eyed The Hanged Woman, suspended before a state of transformation – Death. I had drawn both cards just hours before. I took them both into the theatre. Continue reading “A Triumph of Will in ‘Gender Play’ at About Face Theatre”
This week, our chief editor Regina Victor had the chance to chat with Chicago-based actor Will Wilhelm (they/them) about their interview podcast, Teacakes and Tarot. Topics discussed include reclaiming Shakespeare, and how to create spaces for queer artists that aren’t just based around explaining things to the cishet crowd. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Q: You have had guests ranging from Jehan Osanyin to Robert O’Hara. How do you select the guests for Teacakes and Tarot, and what has been your favorite thing (or things) you’ve learned from them?
A: During the first season of Teacakes & Tarot: Conversations with Queer Futurists, I was really excited about highlighting and further excavating conversations that I’ve had in my personal and professional relationships. When I find myself in public conversation with other queer artists, it is often formatted as some sort of panel discussion for the benefit of a majority cis-het audience. I find that I have so much to say in these settings, but it takes so long to get everyone on the same page around basic rhetoric and cultural awareness. So, my co-creator, Erin Murray, and I decided to create a space where I could have intimate and in-depth conversations with the people who inspire me and simply allow the audience to observe. They’ll learn what they learn, and some things may go over their heads. Ultimately, though, we thought the conversations would be more substantive and focus more on how queer and trans folks would structure our industry if we were given the power. So, in season one, I invited a bunch of friends and colleagues to share space with me and shed some light on their personal experiences.
Continue reading “An Interview with Will Wilhelm: Shakespeare, Tarot, and Creating Queer Spaces in Art”