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To T, or Not to T

A wild, moving and revelatory, multimedia solo show performed by a dynamic transgender actor who explores the profound impact of taking testosterone.

D’Lo in a scene from “To T, or Not to T” (Photo credit: Ryan Harper Gray)

Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly, Critic

Wild, moving and revelatory, To T, or Not to T is an autobiographical, multimedia solo show written and performed by the dynamic transgender actor D’Lo. The difficult decision to and the profound impact of taking testosterone is the catalyst of this personal exploration. 

Trans people are beautiful, magical human beings, do not reduce us to the junk beneath our clothing.

While wearing an all black ensemble of a cap, T-shirt, shorts and sneakers, D’Lo commandingly holds forth with plentiful pop culture references in 70 minutes.  Possessing the powers of an accomplished stand-up comedian he expresses the searing and hilarious details of his transgender journey in an often rapid, hip-hop style alternating with a measured pace.  Audience members are occasionally addressed directly with riotous results.

He was born to Sri Lankan immigrant parents in Queens, New York, and raised in California.  His supportive, doctor father is featured prominently in the show on video and by D’Lo doing a tender and comical impression of him.  In previous shows, his relationship with his mother was depicted.

In childhood as a girl, he identified as male and the trauma of beginning to menstruate is a dramatic highlight. He progressed from behaving as a tomboy to following the path of transitioning to male. This involved eventually getting surgery and crucially, taking testosterone.  He is now happily married to a woman.

Watching Queen Latifah’s music videos while growing up had a great influence on him as did seeing transgender people on The Maury Povich Show.

And around that time, my hair slowly became shorter and shorter, and with the brambles clearing, the more and more freedom I felt, and the more and more I got closer to understanding my artistic path in this world, and started re-merging as the boy butterfly I was. 

D’Lo in a scene from “To T, or Not to T” (Photo credit: Ryan Harper Gray)

Director Adelina Anthony’s frenetic staging and skillful dramaturgy vividly shape D’Lo’s memories and observations into a compelling showcase.

The stage is creatively used as a grand visual landscape. D’Lo jumps up and down on a pogo stick and a trampoline, energetically dances, paces on a platform and climbs on a semisphere, as if in a playground and majestically dashes around wearing butterfly wings.  There’s also a small table with a child’s tea set that is used for droll symbolism.

The back wall has a large screen on which Meena Murugesan’s lovely projections are shown complementing D’Lo’s recitations.  Celestial, nautical and locale images are strikingly woven into the presentation.

Stephen Franco’s pulsing sound design renders the pop tunes and effects perfectly.

In addition to being highly entertaining, To T, or Not to T is cumulatively educational. D’Lo eloquently details the experience of being transgender with engaging humor and passion.

To T, Or Not to T is being presented as part of the performance space Dixon Place’s 26th annual HOT! Festival, an event that is “The NYC Celebration of Queer Culture.”

To T, Or Not to T (through July 22, 2017)

26th Annual HOT! Festival

Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit http://www.dixonplace.org

Running time: 70 minutes with no intermission

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (389 Articles)
A native New Yorker, Darryl Reilly graduated from NYU with a BFA in Cinema Studies. For the Broadway League, (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers) he developed, and for five years conducted their Broadway Open House Tours, which took visitors through The Theatre District and into several Broadway theaters. He contributed to Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition (Applause Books). Since 2013, he has reviewed theater, cabaret, and concerts for Theaterscene.net.

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