The opera “As One” is a story about identity, authenticity and compassion. Like every other boy. Unlike every other boy. Two voices—Hannah before and Hannah after—share the part of a sole transgender protagonist, portrayed by UCI Drama students Kayla Kearney (MFA) and Connor Marsh (BFA). The reading of the opera’s libretto will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Kimberly Reed and opera director David Schweizer, a reception, and a tour of the Beall Center for Art and Technology’s current exhibit "Masculine ←→ Feminine".
Long Beach Opera’s upcoming production “As One” is based and inspired in part by the life experiences of acclaimed filmmaker Kimberly Reed, with music by Laura Kaminsky, and a libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. The story traces with empathy and humor Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to the acceptance of herself.
“As One forces you to think, simultaneously challenging preconceptions and inspiring empathy … [with] winning humor and a satisfying emotional arc.”– The New York Times
"Trans" as an artistic theme has the benefit of casting light on social boundaries—the limits of humanness—that are usually invisible, at least to those privileged enough not to be constantly running up against them. One of art's jobs is to explore and push beyond these sorts of boundaries, so it's no surprise that so many artists have found "trans" to be a useful tool.
"Masculine ←→Feminine" focuses on the gendered body, and how artists project gender and sexual identity. Whether it’s historical works like Robert Heineken’s "He/She" series (1979)─in which the artist represents how gender difference affects communication ─ or contemporary pieces like Julie Heffernan’s "Self-Portrait" series (2011)─allegorical oil paintings that often depict the artist in androgynous or non-human states ─ the artworks featured in this exhibition attempt to free us from the masculine/feminine binary.