In 2016 writer, performer, poet and theatre-maker Travis Alabanza was the victim of a transphobic attack. They had a burger violently thrown at them whilst walking across Waterloo Bridge in central London. Over 100 people witnessed the horrendous attack and not one single person intervened. This incident is the catalyst for the show Burgerz, where Travis takes the audience on a journey through gender identity, violence and their own personal experiences.
Travis has a warm and inviting personality. Even though Burgerz begins with the description of a violent act, the performer makes the audience feel at ease, with a warm smile, a fabulous costume reveal and a beautiful and considered way with words. Travis has published a poetry collection and their ability to infuse passion, heart and emotion into their words is inspiring, gripping and thoroughly entertaining.
Travis invites a white, cis-gender male to take the stage and assist in the cooking of a burger. Since the attack on Waterloo Bridge Travis has become obsessed with burgers and looks to understand the incident through the making of one live on stage. During this segment, Travis has a back and forth with their assistant and we hear of how gender non-conformity has been present in many cultures and is in no way a recent topic. Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch, the burger doesn’t quite get cooked as planned and a rather rare version has to be served. However, this does not stop Travis from expressing the themes of the show and the quick-witted response to the technical mishap actually causes the audience to endear to the performer even more.
Burgerz is a call to action. It boldly points out the fact that trans issues concern everyone, regardless of gender and background. We are all complicit and we all need to address the injustices of this world. Colonisation, class and privilege has eroded away identity and controlled the representation of minorities and tonight’s performance succinctly highlights this. Burgerz asks all people to act, intervene, show passion and integrity and most importantly care.