The History of Sexuality

MainLine Theatre

September 20th - 30th, 2017

The History of Sexuality is an original two-act play exploring queer identities and queer communities in Montreal

Sexuality is always wrapped up in structures and systems of power. This new play by Dane Stewart offers an intimate and radically honest examination of sex and power from a queer perspective.

Five students take a graduate seminar studying the work of revolutionary philosopher Michel Foucault. As they argue over issues of sexuality, gender, oppression and free will, these theories begin to rupture and spill out into their own lives. The characters expose the complexities of sexuality as it collides with kink, BDSM, disability, gender, race, and sex work.

More Information

Auditions: June 2017.

Tickets: Coming soon. 

Our Process

How was it written?

When setting out to write this play we asked: how do you ethically write a personal experience of queerness that’s outside of your own? We developed a collaborative approach to writing in a form we call: fictionalized verbatim theatre.

In fictionalized verbatim theatre, we followed many of the same steps as those documentary theatre-makers we admire. We started with extensive research into queer identity in Montreal: we read a lot, we consumed a lot of art, we talked to a lot of queer folk, and we went to a lot of queer dance parties (for research, of course). After a year of preliminary research, we arranged individual and group interviews with members of Montreal’s queer community. We brought together people with different experiences of queerness: people who could speak to how their queerness was informed by their age, or their gender-identity, or their sexual assault, or their kinky relationship as someone’s dogslave, or the injury that changed the way they felt sensation.

 These interviews were audio recorded and segments were transcribed. However, in contrast to most documentary theatre pieces, our play doesn’t represent our interviewees as characters in the play. We created fictional characters with a fictional narrative who speak the words and describe the experiences of the folks we interviewed. By writing a fictional narrative we are able to create a compelling arc that brings multiple queer truths in conversation with one another.

To keep the process as collaborative as possible, our interviewees were consulted for feedback throughout the writing process. Interviewees were sent drafts of the script, they were invited to read-throughs and rehearsals, and their feedback was incorporated into edits. In several cases we arranged follow-up interviews with participants to further tease out an idea or characteristic of theirs which we used in the story.