Sprint preview: He/He/He

Gabriel Matisse Harris produces, writes, and performs this new show, which is playing at the Sprint Festival this month.

He/He/He has the blurb “Indy Nile, the DILF of London’s drag scene, invites you to his 23-year late gender reveal party. Spoiler alert: it’s a boy.”

We chatted to Gabriel to find out more about this solo show.

Where: Camden People’s Theatre

When: 10 Mar at 10pm

Ticket link: https://cptheatre.co.uk/whatson/HeHeHe

Promotional picture for He/He/He

What made you become part of the Sprint Festival?

For me, Sprint Festival was the perfect opportunity to explore what my drag (which often takes the form of 5-minute acts performed in bars and clubs) could look like in a theatre setting, and with an hour to play with. It also gave me the opportunity to meet so many exciting and innovative artists, whose shows I can’t wait to see!

He/He/He is ‘an unapologetically silly solo show’ from a trans male perspective. What should audiences expect?

Audiences should expect some chortles, chuckles, and maybe even a guffaw or two (if you’re lucky). But Indy Nile is also a man of substance, so do also expect some depth, in the form of readings from his new anthology of poems: ‘Nile-ism’. I must warn you; things might get emotional. But my therapist says it’s good to sit in your feelings.

Indy Nile is ‘the DILF of the London’s drag scene’. How has the drag scene evolved over the past few years?

The drag scene is constantly evolving, both for better and worse. Thanks to a certain televised drag competition that’s made its way to the UK, I think there’s a pressure to be ‘reality-show ready’, which often comes at the sacrifice of originality, innovation, and excitement.

However, a lot of drag artists who don’t fit into this mainstream idea of drag (such as drag kings, and performers who aren’t cis men) have been making their mark on the scene for years now and are starting to get more recognition.

Platforms like ‘Man Up!’, ‘The Gold Rush’ (created by Taylor Trash) and ‘Top of the Slops’ (created by Vanilla Parker-Balls) all create the opportunity for under-represented drag to thrive, and some of the most memorable and creative performances I’ve seen have come from these platforms.

Trans women in particular have received a lot of negative press and social media attention. Trans men are equally vulnerable – do you see any positive change to counter what seems to be the popular narrative?

During a time when trans people, especially trans women and trans people of colour, are facing interpersonal and state violence, a glimmer of positivity I have found is the incredible acts of community from trans people.

Our community has come together to fund healthcare for others, find housing, and provide mutual aid, although it shouldn’t have to come to this in the first place.

We still have a long way to go in terms of representation, but more and more trans stories are being told, and we continue to prove our excellence and show that there is a demand for trans stories to be told, seen, and heard.

These positive things are all from within the trans community. I’d love to see Cis people take the initiative for us too, being an ally is to be active, not just reactive.

There are many shows around at the moment looking at trans issues from a personal perspective – what does He/He/He bring to the table that’s unique?

I think He/He/He brings to the table something that I’d like to see even more of – a trans person being a bit of a twat. A lot of trans representation is rooted in laying out our trauma or taking on the impossible task of representing an entire community.

I believe the stories that explore the persecution that trans people face are needed – I’m just going to leave that to the people who are good at writing about that.

For me, I wanted He/He/He to explore my relationship to my maleness in a way that is not just about criticising masculinity but is subversive, celebratory, and silly.

As trans people, we don’t often get to see ourselves represented with humour and laughter, and when we do, it’s often hacky comedians telling jokes about pronouns.

In He/He/He, I want trans people to laugh with each other whilst in the comfort of knowing that the jokes aren’t about them, but for them.