While we understand that it may be difficult to hire transgender singers to perform As One due to the dearth of trained singers, we strongly recommend the employment of transgender people in other roles related to the production: stage direction, conducting, design, stage management, etc.
Use of Film
The film Kimberly Reed created for As One was part of the original concept for the opera and is a crucial element to the storytelling: it not only helps clarify scene settings, it augments in a visual way the score’s expression of Hannah’s inner life. To ensure that the use of the film is easy and problem-free, As One’s publisher, Bill Holab, offers a licensing contract and a video tach rider describing how the film should be implemented; contact him for information at: http://www.billholabmusic.com
Supertitles are a necessary part of the production. The libretto contains many details about Hannah's journey that may difficult to absorb on first listening without having a visual reference to the words. The addition of this simple production element allows the audience to enjoy the music and performances more, thereby making the opera a better and fuller experience. To obtain the supertitles (in PowerPoint), contact Mark Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The costumes for both Hannah before and Hannah after should be gender-neutral, casual and unassuming, and should never in any way imply drag or transvestitism. Many people wrongly place too much emphasis on clothing in a transgender person’s journey—it’s certainly a part of the journey, but it is not the most important part of self-realization.
Supers/Added Cast Members
The decision to write the opera as a two-character work was core to its initial conception and was not based on economics. It permits the audience to focus more sharply on Hannah’s story. The narrative in the libretto also invites the audience to collaborate with the performers and use their imaginations as they follow Hannah’s journey. Adding supers often undermines the power of that collaboration and can create an overly literal production, reducing the opera’s poetry.
Placement of String Quartet/Theatrical Role of Conductor
The ensemble and the conductor should be integrated into the production as much as possible without intruding on the central story. They all participate in a few moments of the story; the directions in the score clarify how they are to step out of their primary roles as orchestra. In some productions, directors have increased the string quartet’s engagement beyond what is requested in the stage directions in the score; one example is to have them recite the poem in Entire of itself.
Announcement of Violence in the Performance of the Opera
Some audience members have found the “Out of nowhere” sequence very disturbing, often recalling their own experiences with being attacked. The creators recommend that producers include a "trigger warning" notice in the program and/or on signs entering the theatre with this message: “As One contains a scene of violence that may be disturbing to some people.”
Community Resources Listed in Program Book
The creators recommend creating a resource page in the program book by including a list of LGBT organizations in the area, as well as links to national organizations (refer to the "Community" page on this website). Please also include the web address for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance: https://tdor.info/ (This is also the source for the names that are recited in "Out of nowhere.")
Education and Outreach Opportunities
Companies that have made significant partnerships with local LGBT organizations have had considerable success in bringing new audiences to their company, and have created opportunities for important conversations. Pre- and/or post- performance engagement opportunities involving the creative team, the performers, and members of the LGBTQ community can deepen the As One experience, especially those that focus on issues facing transgender people. Other outreach efforts in advance of the opening can expand the connection to the community. On example is arranging a screening of Kimberly Reed’s documentary, Prodigal Sons.
It’s a good idea to provide gender-free bathrooms at any time, but especially during the performance of this opera.