Abridged interview with ‘Single All the Way’

“Imagine a brave, resilient, courageous, feminist and strong woman. Imagine a man who can stand tall and proud. Imagine a thick-skinned 16-year-old girl growing up to fight her way up through the armed forces. …Imagine a Bowie-esque man coming out as a ‘gift’ to a young boy who doesn’t believe that gay people exist. Imagine a power that can manipulate reality, a morality that can save the world. Imagine a man who can turn into a woman. Imagine a nation of 80,000 people when you can be herself and do what you want to do.”

Those are some of the lines that end Richard Tintori’s play “Single All the Way”, written by Spanish playwright Marcos García Cajal for San Francisco’s LGBTQ-inclusive theatre at Centro Comunitario LGBT+ and taken to the US in an adaptation by British playwright and director Chris Petit. The San Francisco production opened the Theatre for a New Audience Festival in January, where it won top honours.

“A hybrid of theatre and novel, ‘Single All the Way’ is rooted in the struggle of people for equal rights. It’s a queer fantasy about finding one’s sexuality and identity on the most severe of educational and social crises,” Cajal writes on his website.

Themes such as interracial love and mental illness were present in the original Spanish script. But for this production, the theatre company pulled out of the dialogue, Garcia Cajal told SGK. The script’s use of supernatural realism pushed Petit to think of queer fantasy as an essential part of queer resistance. “There were no other plays that talked about queer fantasy in such depth,” he told SGK.

As Cajal and Petit, along with writers Mabien Gharial and Gonzalo Garcia, developed the queer fantasy, Garcia Cajal said the three took a lot of time to get it right and care that the piece told a story that had true drama and meaning. Petit said the language of the original Spanish makes it an essential text for queer people in Spain and LGBTQ+ around the world. Garcia Cajal, meanwhile, said it’s a part of Spanish culture that needs to be affirmed.

Read the transcript of the interview with Lisa Fachieri, director of Theatre for a New Audience and executive director of Centre Independente Providente, below.

Lisa Fachieri: In ‘Single All the Way’ at Tafelmusik, the focus was on a life that, despite its hurdles, finds an incredible scope and complexity. What made you want to take it?

Marisela Garcia Cajal: When I was presenting the play in Spain, it struck me that it was an unusual piece of theatre, but also that I could get it very close to the audience by having people take parts, because all of us can see how similar we are – regardless of how individual we might appear.

LF: How close have you come to accepting your own sexuality? Is there anything you feel you have not done yet?

MG: The first point that I wanted to point out to the audience was that it’s very possible to lose yourself, and not to make any attempt to understand or feel anything, but simply to exist in this duality in the world.

LF: The play is also about “coming out”. There’s a big question of being a transgender person. What do you think about how people tackle the question?

MG: Sexuality is a funny thing, because in actual fact, there is no such thing as having one identity – that’s the key. We all have different identities and these identities change. I’m stuck in a situation that’s very hard, because I don’t know what identity I’m going to have, but I know that I can do what I want – and that’s to live the way I want to live.

LF: What is your fantasy about the future?

MG: The future needs to be all the way. Having gay marriage is very important, because it legitimises the lives of gay people and gives them the right to a life that they’ve never known. It’s an emotional contract between a couple and a society and that’s crucial.

LF: Do you have a pet theory about why gay people have been underestimated in history?

MG: I don’t have a pet theory – but instead, I think that we have to see what we owe to each other. That doesn’t mean to be only present, but to engage with what you see around you.

LF: That’s really engaging.

MG: I think that’s the only way that we can improve our world.

LF: Do you get the sense that queer people have been underestimated? Why does it feel like a part of our history and in our

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