Name as you’d like it to appear: Amélie

Gender as you’d like it to appear: Woman

City you live in and/or improvise in most: Paris

Impro(v) Bio: I’ve been doing improv for 6 years, it’s been mostly inspired by the work of Keith Johnstone, I worked with Again! Production, Fabien Strobel, ImproAcademy, Olistik, Impronautes, I’ve also been doing dance improv, and clown and am really interested in any kind of body expression practice.

How does being trans*/NB influence your impro(v)?

I have started taking hormones 8 months ago, and my self-image and my body changing rose a whole new range of insecurities, plus I’m still battling with passing and feeling legitimate as a woman. Needless to say, going on stage for the last couple of months, with this new version of my body and these new hormones in it, has become quite a challenge. But having my whole world being flipped upside down is kinda what transitioning is about. It is crazy, but it’s also temporary. On a more positive note, the couple of times I have played a female character it felt amazing and natural.
Two months later:
Things have become stable and simple again. I feel way much more at ease with my body on stage and it’s profoundly satisfying.

Do you play trans*/NB characters often?

No never, although my body has always expressed a lot of androgyny, but my characters have never stated being trans.

How do you feel about cisgender actors playing trans*/NB characters in impro(v)?

If it’s done with respect and empathy, I feel quite good about it (it actually happened recently), I feel like it’s a way for them to say: “I care about you, and I’m really interested by what you’re going through, because it will help me to understand you on a deeper level, so here is how I genuinely understand your situation from my exterior point of view”.

Besides announcing it, how might you know/show a character is trans*/NB?

That’s a really good question, as I said above, none of my characters have ever stated being transgender, probably because I didn’t want the scene to revolve around the fact that one character is trans.
But if there were ways to make it subtle without hijacking the scene theme, that would be nice!
Here are some ideas (the more subtly they go with the flow of the narrative the better):

• a character stating that they took/are gonna take their hormones
• a character stating that they just came back from facial hair laser removal
• a character stating that they had a top surgery
• talk about dysphoria
• a character having a crisis and say they cannot stand being gendered X anymore
• say “as you know my parent treated be as a boy/girl when I was young” and use that in the narrative
• having a soft pre-sex scene and have the character talk about how they’ve never done that before because of their body dysphoria.
• having a soft (I precise “soft” so that you don’t get the wrong idea as intercourse on stage is always a touchy topic) pre-sex scene and refer to genitals

How do you feel about playing different genders generally, in terms of naming gender and of expressing it?

During a show, I sometimes play 100% of my characters males, sometimes 100% female, sometimes a bit both, it depends a lot on how I feel. I try not to judge myself and to allow myself to play any genders if I feel like it’s right for me. I naturally have a quite feminine body language, and when I play men, I don’t change that, I’m just being me (since this is how it’s always been before I come out, it’s a comfort zone, even though it’s not my actual gender). And actually, my male characters are often asexual (no sexual arousal, not being perceptive of (even obvious) seductions signs). On second thought, it’s a male gendered character, but their gender is more around non-binary/agender. When I play female, my energy changes, I’m more into relationships than action. I think that when I need to play a scene about a deeper OR romantic relationship I’ll instinctively play female.

Does your local impro(v) community know/understand your gender? If so, how has that been in terms of acceptance/understanding?

It’s been public information since January 2019 and they all have been very supportive, they never judged me, never made me feel like there was something abnormal with me and it helped immensely in my journey to self-acceptance. It’s just incredible how open-minded they happen to be and I cannot thank them enough for that.

Thinking about examples of trans*/NB characters across all media (Impro(v), TV, Movies, Plays etc), what are the best trans*/NB characters or stories you’ve seen depicted? The worst?

In the OA there is a trans dude, and I like that not much of the series revolves around that, like it’s just anecdotic and normal.