GPC would like to inform readers this profile discusses themes of transphobia and homophobia,
including mentions of violence against trans folx and suicide.
Nemo Martin began writing drama in 2016 while starting an MA in Dramatic Writing at Central Saint Martins. They are a writer for Stage, Television, Radio and Digital Media. Martin’s stories links to the social paradigms of NB and trans representation, contesting for their acceptance in mainstream media.
There is a genre of films and theatre plays called "Fish out of Water", wherein a person who is odd or weird is thrown into an environment that is homogenised. A large amount of extant theatre plays and films of trans and non-binary stories are listed in this category, a main character NB or Trans navigating a normalised world where they are seen as “odd” and “out-of-place”. In affect, the categorisation infers the filmmaker’s intended audience is non-trans/non-non-binary, also known as cis-gendered.
Martin recognises the pattern within “Fish out of Water” stories. Most endings are tragic, in many cases unnecessarily violent as the tragic person is murdered or commits suicide. The hypothesis: to a community of cis people, not having the lived-experience of trans-ness and NB-ness, the concept of being trans is very foreign and in some cases unbearable. It’s an “excitingly entertaining” story to cis people, but trauma-inducing to people whose identity the story effects.
Martin in acknowledgment of this pattern depicts trans characters who survive and thrive. To the community of trans people, if a film or play is marketed to have a trans lead character, the community will want to watch it. However, if these films or plays are created without the acknowledgement of the potential to cause trauma, inherent in depicting suicidal trans people who meet their demise, it serves no purpose to the community it represents.
An interactive game; Nemo Martin wrote the game’s script and coded the interactive elements with Jade Leamcharaskul, who also created the score and graphics. The project illustrates the experiences of a non-binary person using female and male toilets in a public setting, as the gamer is a non-binary character. A NB person is someone who identifies neither as female or male.
The game plays out like the common ‘choose-your adventure’. At different points the player has to make choices, and the storyline tree-branches. The first setting is outside two doors, a male washroom door painted blue and a female washroom door painted red. The player is told, "you are transgender". The character is prompted to pick a door, "M" or "F". [Spoiler Alert] In all endings, Martin’s writing monologues the anxiety the character faces and the storylines all end similarly. You don’t get to use the washroom.
This Strange, Binary World hinges on the possibility of worst case scenarios in the everyday experiences of a non-binary person, and what anxiety it induces. One of Martin’s earlier works, it does not glean over the trans experience as idealistically positive by presenting an overtly happy ending without the trauma.
“That’s when you see it. The fear
She thinks you’re a man.
She is scared of men intruding in her safe space
You do not know her fears.
But you can guess.
1 in 4 women, you think.
You can’t come back here.”
-- A piece of the internal monologue from the branch of story when you go to the women’s bathroom.
GPC would like to warn players This Strange, Binary World contains content of transphobia, homophobia, violence and references to rape.
Pitch and Cologne takes the way Shakespearean cross-dressing has been performed as farcical or caricature and re-invents the genre to be instead truthful and serious. It asks the question, ‘had these characters made a choice in their dress as an expression of their identity’?
The play is loosely based on the real life of an unnamed transgender person living in the 19th century whose story is similar to the character George. It follows George pretending to be his brother John who was away at sea as a Naval surgeon. In George’s whole life he’s been denied the acceptance to be a surgeon like his brother. All is well until John appears again and George has to go to back to being Juliet, his dead identity. The story unfolds with much whimsy and triumph! The works seeks to indicate and vocalise the historical existence of transgender communities before the 60s and 70s.
All of Martin’s projects are linked to their realities. Their work is a reversion through perspective, allowing a clarification on the real experiences of trans and non-binary folx. Due to the general understanding that media subconsciously affects people’s misunderstanding of marginalised people, Martin works towards better representation.
Further reading! Nemo Martin’s extended CV includes The Sound of My Voice a radio play of 10 minutes along the theme of racialisation through accents. They’re also a mediator for a podcast, Bread and Barricades, where guests discuss the connections between the social issues iterated by Victor Hugo of Les Miserables and how they relate to today’s revolutionary movements like BLM. Martin is active and based in London.
Contact Nemo Martin @zeus_japonicus
Profile by Bertha Lee
12th Jan, 2018