‘Unique to the per­son’

Rory Stark­man shares per­sonal story in ‘Just the Way it Is’ at the Is­land Fringe Fes­ti­val next month

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Sally Cole Sally Cole is an en­ter­tain­ment writer with The Guardian. She wel­comes com­ments about her col­umn as well as sug­ges­tions for fu­ture col­umns from read­ers. She may be reached at sally.cole@ The­Guardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

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.”

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

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.

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