'Giantess' is a pleasant hour of theatre, centred around topics that have the potential to tap into the fears and hatred which lurk within the community.
As star, writer and subject matter, Cassie Workman displays a knack for dialling the temperature down so well that it may only be upon reflection, that one realises how effective her storytelling prowess is.
Cassie modulates her voice evenly, dresses conservatively and rarely goes in for hysterics. It is almost as if she is making a point of appearing as normal, laid back and non-threatening as one can be.
Yet she stands on stage and owns her truth, never mincing words as she tells a story about a troll who kidnapped a little girl and kept her in a house for years, but the story has a twist. In between the telling of it, Cassie relays her own journey as a trans person and dissects her main job of stand-up comedy.
A story about child abduction is the kind of subject matter to make anyone uncomfortable, but Cassie has a way of guiding us through. In one moment, she is funny, the patter calm and sure, the jokes consistently good without being outrageous and then a truth bomb hits of being vilified, and lands hard. Cassie doesn’t play for effect, doesn’t pan for the extra laugh or pause for the silence of a dramatic point to deafen. In fact, she mocks such conventions and with such restraint she may prove more effective at making her point. Although it does mean the audience is denied a truly emotional catharsis or connection.
When the show ended there was a spontaneous and continuous round of applause. Cassie did not return to the stage, but the applause continued maybe just to say thank you, to say we heard you and we like you.
There are lavish shows playing at MELT, comedies that make you laugh out loud constantly, shows with lavish costumes and wonderful music. That is not ‘Giantess’. This show is a simple metaphor about how it feels to accept who you were always meant to be and become that. An understated show and star like ‘Giantess’ and Cassie Workman belong at MELT as much as any of those other shows.
With her work, Cassie reminds that we all express our truths differently, but when we speak from the heart, we can’t help but bring out a round of spontaneous and continuous applause from others.