- About the Work
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A timely story that shakes the very foundations of how we perceive gender, body autonomy & boobs.
Selina Jenkins, a cis gender woman in her thirties, made the decision to have her breasts removed with a full double mastectomy surgery. A procedure predominately performed on breast cancer patients, those at high risk of breast cancer or transgender individuals wishing to transition from female to male.
The year was 2012 and Selina was neither transitioning or suffering from illness or injury. But she was suffering, from years of discomfort of both a physical & psychological nature. Following extensive questioning & researching, Selina became aware of a surgery that could offer a solution to her misery. Assigned female at birth & remaining female identified, Selina had no intentions of changing her gender, she just wanted her breasts removed.
This decision felt relatively straight forward to her, the same couldn’t be said for the eligibility process required to be undertaken to be approved for said surgery in Australia at the time. Selina was informed that she was the first documented case of this kind in Australia, and therefore the process was unprecedented. Selina travelled to the US to have the procedure, ‘BOOBS’ is the retelling of that tale, with a few songs thrown in.
Part of what makes Jenkins’ work sublime & inspiring is the way every aspect of her performance combines to hold you in thrall. Her soulful voice, her witty & poignant lyrics, her instinct for comic delivery & timing, her talent for shaping anecdotes & generating suspense – all combine to share a story that unearths the universal in the unusual, the political in the personal.
One warm lighting state that lights myself centre stage for most of the production.
One more clinical lighting state (white or blue light) that lights the chair on stage that I sit on three times during the production.
Either two corded or cordless vocal mics both on boom stands, or one cordless ‘madonna’ vocal mic.
One d.i. for guitar.
I stand centre stage with guitar on a small guitar stand one metre to my right.
There is one chair a couple of metres away from me to my left that I sit in three times during the performance.
This production can travel by plain and standard sedan car. It involves one person (myself), one small travel guitar in a hard case and one small suitcase.
Audience & Marketing Notes
My past productions have attracted a predominately female audience with ages ranging from 30-70 years. Many of whom are LGBTIQ identified. When writing ‘Boobs’ I didn’t have a solid target audience in mind but presumed it would be similar to past productions.
I was wrong. Perhaps it’s the provocative title, or the subject matter itself, but this show seems to have a much broader reach. Audiences have consisted of a mix of ages, genders, & identities. Far more male identifying individuals have purchased tickets than any of my previous productions, this may be a direct result of the title. A large number of audience members expressed that they didn’t know what the show would be like, but that they had heard positive reactions & were willing to take the risk. Others caught the editorial on ABC television or online. I have also received feedback that this work could be a valuable & enjoyable resource for VCE age students. I think this is a show that most people would enjoy, regardless of their age, gender, sexuality or politics. I do however, think it is important that potential audience members are aware that despite its title, ‘Boobs’ is is not a strip or burlesque show.
- The title of this production is the first ‘hook’. It is purposefully provocative and very self explanatory. This is a show about my boobs. Through the telling of my personal story, wider opinions around body autonomy and gender are also explored.
- The story is original. The content is autobiographical and unusual. We have not heard many, if any, stories of cis gendered women wanting to have their breasts removed in the absence of physical illness or injury.
- It was communicated to me by the health care professionals that I was working with at the time, that I was the first documented case in Australia of this nature. And as a result, the surgery that I was requesting was undertaken in the US.
- The other ‘hooks’ are the accessibility and quality of the content and delivery of the show. ‘Boobs’ has received positive reviews and accolades. It was also named as one of the top five stage shows of 2019 by The Age.
- The piece aired on the ABC and online also continues to receive a lot of attention.
this show would suit most formats large and small