What do you do when you see an act of violence in public? You may keep your head down for fear of being subject to violence too or nowadays you may get out your phone and start recording. In Travis Alabanza’s experience, you will most likely choose to do nothing. Well nothing to actually intervene or help the target of said violence. In 2016, a burger was thrown at Travis whilst the perpetrator shouted a transphobic slur. In the public setting, we’re told that there were around 100 people nearby yet they all chose to do nothing.
In seeking to take back control of the incident, Alabanza has become obsessed with burgers. In a pastel coloured kitchen, they make one live on stage with the assistance of a cis-gender white man selected from the audience on the night.
As a piece of theatre, Burgerz is striking and powerful. The show acts as a platform for Travis to share their experience of being a trans person of colour in today’s society in discussion with their selected scene partner. The play soars thanks to Travis’ personality and their considered thoughts on societal perceptions of gender. Travis makes more comparisons between gender and burgers than one would think were possible, but surprisingly it can be done.
The final message from Burgerz is simple. No one in the transgender community should be subject to any kind of violence and we should show solidarity against such acts of abuse. Travis expertly utilises the power of theatre to join the vocal chorus of activists who have been tirelessly repeating this simple message time and time again.
Burgerz is running at the Traverse Theatre on Aug 8-11, 13-18, 20-25 at the time of writing.