After seeing a lack of plays for young people about the LGBTQ+ community, Saskatoon playwright S.E. Grummett (BFA'16) revised Something in the Water, making it available to ages 10 and up.
“I really hope that it empowers queer, trans, gender diverse and questioning youth to feel like there are people out there like them, that feel like them, that they’re not alone,” Grummett said in an interview with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
“I also hope it teaches parents and teachers and people in positions of leadership that those folks really matter … and how they can help and support the queer youth in their life.”
The North American premier of Grummett’s youth adaptation of Something in the Water will be presented by Persephone Theatre next week. The play won the Best Theatre Award at the 2021 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Grummett, who uses they/them pronouns, based the play on their own experience coming out as trans in 2018.
“I wanted to make something that was really empowering, and funny, so trans people like myself could see themselves in a show and laugh,” Grummett said.
Presented through comedy, the story is told through physical performance, puppetry and live video feed.
Li’l Grumms, who doesn’t feel like a boy or a girl, wakes up one day and discovers they have turned into a giant squid monster. Grumms tries to hide behind the disguise of a human woman, but discovers they must embrace their true self in order to become the hero they were meant to be.
Grummett said the comedic approach makes it easier for people to empathize with the struggles trans people face every day.
“(Everyone) can laugh at how ridiculous it is that my squid monster has to put on a disguise to try and get into the women’s bathroom,” they said.
Before coming out, Grummett said they struggled with where they fit in, and with the fear they would be seen as a monster.
“By taking a monster transformation tale, I can look at those feelings that I think a lot of queer people go through when they’re transitioning,” they said.
The choice to use puppetry also reflects Grummett’s own gender journey. As an actor, they said they were “performing femininity” and playing roles that felt wrong.
But when they started touring with a children’s puppet show, that changed. It made them realize they could still enjoy performing.
Read the full story at https://thestarphoenix.com.