‘Unique to the person’
Rory Starkman shares personal story in ‘Just the Way it Is’ at the Island Fringe Festival next month
I first met Rory Starkman when the UPEI student was mounting plays with the Vagabond Players a few years ago.
Industrious, reliable and cheerful, Starkman worked with other students in the theatre studies program to create live productions under the direction of Greg Doran.
Now, after helping bring other people’s stories to life, Islanders will have a chance to see a play that Starkman has written brought to the stage next month as “Just the Way it Is” makes its debut at the 2017 Island Fringe Festival.
“It’s a journey of self-discovery, examining one of the largest binaries that our social world subscribes to — gender,” says Starkman, of the play that runs Aug. 3-6 at the Charlottetown Firefighters Club, 89 Kent St.
“The Way It Is” is the story of Maggie who, when she was born, agreed to be a girl without knowing all of the expectations that went along with that label and their journey to self-discovery. “If you’re a girl you’re told that you need to wear this and you need to get boys to like you. With the play you’re seeing these outside messages but you’re also seeing the internal struggle .... I’ve really worked hard to externalize
it in the show.”
Gender is something that the 27-year-old knows about.
Starkman is a non-binary individual who identifies more on the masculine side, in terms of traditional gender roles. A selfdescribed tomboy, she has short hair and often wears loosefitting clothes and a chestbinder.
“Non binary means ‘unique to the person’. For me, it means that I don’t feel that I’m male or female despite what my anatomy may say to people and what my voice and lack of facial hair communicates. I don’t feel like I fit in the female box or male box,” says Starkman, who
hopes that the play will help individuals struggling with similar issues as well as create discussion.
“At the end of the day, if I can get people thinking about these things then I’m happy.”
Rory Starkman is excited that her play, “Just the Way it Is”, will debut at the Island Fringe Festival next month. The show opens on Aug. 3, 7 p.m. at the Charlottetown Firefighters Club at 89 Kent St.