Phillip is not a happy man, for most of his life he has been at odds with himself, even growing up at a young age he was never really comfortable with life in general. Nothing seemed to fit like they did for other people, everyone seemed to be comfortable within themselves and went about their business in a normal fashion. For Philip he drifted through life unsatisfied with anything, he felt wrong, like he was living through someone else’s life, he was living a lie. Or that he was a living lie.
His only anchor and shining star in his life was Donna, he loved her completely with his very fibre of being, everything else was gray and lifeless. Donna was the sole reason he kept on with his dull mixed up life, he found her absolutely wonderful and very much a light in his darkness.
Donna brings Philip a whisky….
She put up with his mood swings and long periods of silence and depression, those times when he just couldn’t communicate his feelings in a comprehensive manner, and like most males he would retreat within himself until the feeling passed, and always Donna would be there waiting for him. Before he met her he had drifted from town to town and job to job finding it very hard to settle anywhere, always seemed to be searching for something. Something, just something that would make sense, something that would make him understand himself.
Gradually things got worse, he could hide so much anguish from Donna but deep inside he was breaking apart.
These last days he had come to realise that something must give, he looked at other people in his life, their life and daily routines. How they interacted with the world and how they coped. He had come to accept that we were all broken once, like porcelain statues ….chipped at the edges and cracks everywhere. It’s just life, the knocks and bumps from just living can knock the shine and crack the gloss from our porcelain existence. Sometimes we lose limbs or even our head but eventually we glue ourselves back together, though its never the same as before. We break, we chip, we crack and we all carry on as best we can but we are all broken. Philip wasn’t just about to break again, he is on the verge of crumbling away.
Donna senses a deep sadness within her lover and tries to distract him in the best way she knows how……
Donna notices that Philip needs a shave, Philip feels that as a rejection but lets Donna shave his chin.
Donna resumes her amorous intentions, Philip responds in kind……
Donna slips out of her dress and moves to the next room expecting Philip to follow her. However Philip is disturbed to the core, the shaving incident was the last straw.
Donna’s seduction has left him envious of her beauty and sensuality but equally the shaving had left him repulsed by his own body, he now knew what needed to be done but it was a gamble. He had to risk losing the only thing in his life that had any meaning to him, Donna.
The fear welled up inside of him, could he do it? Despite the fear Philip rolled the dice of life, he gambled……he changed!
Phillipa disrobes from the male garb of her previous life, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. She has looks at her body and feels the new sensations that it brings.
She slowly brings herself to look in the mirror, she inspects herself for a long time, with every touch and sensation she feels more complete and whole than she had ever done as a man.
Phillipa has spent too long looking in the mirror, she hears Donna return to the sofa, obviously wondering where her lover went. This is it, it all comes down to this, she has risked everything for this moment. She attempts to add some makeup but its a disaster because its the first time she’s tried……
She wipes it all off. She’s going to have to face Donna just as she is, a different shell but the same love.
Phillipa steals a dress and top from Donna’s stash and dresses as best she can.
Meanwhile Donna returns to the sofa wondering where her lover went, she sits and waits until her patience nearly runs out..
Sadness fills Donna’s heart, she has always managed to lift Philips spirits before but this time the despair seemed so much more profound
Phillipa walks to the sofa…….
Donna stares in astonishment but says nothing. Phillipa is fearful that Donna will walk away and that love will be gone forever. Donna is speechless as she inspects Phillipa in quiet expressionless contemplation
Donna lifts the dress to see if the change is total…..
Donna, filled with confusion and emotional turmoil, disrobes Phillipa.
Donna walks away…but turns and pulls Phillipa to follow her.
Donna says nothing but sits Phillipa down in front of the mirror, and with loving care Donna applies some makeup to Phillipa, both are too lost in the moment to speak.
When finished Donna pulls Phillipa into a hug, but Phillipa is still unsure, is it a friends hug or sisterly hug or a lovers hug? This new body with its new sensation is almost overwhelming and on top of that her heart aches for confirmation of Donna’s continued love.
Donna leads Phillipa back to the sofa, she realises that this new woman knows nothing about the finer details of being female.
Donna shows Phillipa how to put on stockings and dress, and in doing so becomes increasingly used to the idea of the change.
Donna lounges on the sofa but Phillipa is still unsure of Donna’s feelings, however Donna makes it abundantly clear that the change is welcome and she pulls Phillipa down on top of her.
Phillip is not a happy man, but Phillipa is whole again. We are all broken but we can still fill our lives with love and live it to the full as best we can, though sometimes we need to change.
Philip/Phillipa played be Helen Stephens
Donna played by Donna Jackson
Concept and Photography by John McNairn