“There’s loads of identities that I have, and I don’t really know how to be any of them”

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS

Live artist Lucy Hutson’s show Bound has been 10 years in the making. Working with various film makers, Lucy’s life has been captured at various points as it continues to evolve. It showcases now as Bound.

This December at The Camden People’s Theatre, the first showing of the updated version took place. This is the third incarnation of the show which was originally shown in 2011. Part-live performance and part-film installation, it’s all about gender identity. 

Bound is constantly changing and developing in both content and form as Lucy’s gender identity changes and develops.

Sitting down to watch the show, I went in blind. I didn’t expect there to be three TV screens and I didn’t expect Lucy to stay completely silent. However, this form was a powerful masterclass in storytelling. I was incredibly moved and felt like I knew Lucy without one word being spoken on the stage.

Bound mixes performance and autobiographical film from Lucy’s life, rather than Lucy confronting the audience directly. 

It’s an approach I haven’t seen before, but Lucy still creates a connection with the predominantly queer audience as they carefully draw us throughout the show, one by one. 

As Lucy speaks in each separate film, they explore the slippery nature of the identities we all grapple with. The ones forced onto you, and the ones that were once strong and now you are just clinging on to. 

More specifically, it’s about questioning. Why do we need breasts? What is gender? How do you use a urinal if you have a vagina? These are all questions that Lucy asks, while baring all for us on the stage in front her past self. 

Lucy wrote in an article for DIVA: “I was a little girl who people mistook for a boy. I was the little girl who wondered if I would grow up to want to be a man. I was the teenager who stared at boys’ bodies with jealously and I am now the adult who is happy to be a woman but has a firm interest in experiencing and being accepted in male spaces.”

Bound is striking and honest to the point where it becomes painful at times. Lucy is on the verge of tears as she opens up, stripping back layers and giving us every part of their life and their pain. 

I went away with more questions than answers, but I think that was the impact Bound intended to have. Gender is complicated and there’s still so much to learn. We have to keep pushing for the answers no matter how heavy they weigh on the gender identity we thought we had figured out.

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