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Washington, D.C.'s transgender population is growing, and a world-premiere play produced by Forum Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., seeks to celebrate this community, and bring its trials, tribulations and triumphs to the stage.
Georgetown theater professor Natsu Onoda Power has been developing "The T Party," since 2008, as she was getting to know more and more people who identify as transgender.
"I was really interested in the community and the stories they were telling me just as personal stories as friends," she says. "I thought the stories were so theatrical and empowering that I thought I would share with other people."
One of the stories comes to life in Power's play, in a scene called "Long Island Iced Tea."
"I was out with a friend of mine who identifies as a cross dresser; he identifies as male who likes to wear dresses and looks sexy," Power explains. "And he told me that he invited someone that he didn't know from an ad on Craigslist who was a fully transitioned person, male to female. And it turns out this person was a fully transitioned person, male to female, and an escort.
"But these two people were very interested in each other's lives. Very different mode of dressing; being trans is a profession for one person, and the other is a casual cross-dresser. We had a really interesting night out."
Power says the play has changed a lot since 2008, as the lives of the people who inspired the play have changed. And if the play continues to be performed after this month's world premiere, Power suspects the work will change even more.
"I would think maybe new things [would be] added and some things subtracted," she says. "You also learn so much from sharing it with the audience. Then you get to know the experience a little bit more. You keep tailoring it so it's more enjoyable and engaging."
The T Party runs at Round House Silver Spring from July 17 to 27, 2013.
[Music: "Inspiration Information" by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings from Soul Time!]
Photos: The T Party