Arts, Venue

Armistead Maupin’s inspiring talk at Norwich Theatre Royal

Norwich Theatre Royal hosted ‘Tales of the City’ writer, Armistead Maupin on Monday, 30 September 2019. The American writer sat down with Ms Beckerman during a night filled with laughs, memories and an intriguing Q&A section. The talk was in conjunction with his ‘An Evening With Armistead Maupin’ tour of the UK.

The evening was divided into two sections, with the second half being an ‘open to the floor’ Q&A after a reading from his memoir. Throughout the first section, Maupin took the crowd through a memory-filled lane of his life. He discussed his childhood in San Francisco, having to wait so long to come out, his Navy life, right up to his book and the influences of some of his famous characters.

He then strung the crowd along with a background about character Anna Madrigal’s past and influences. Writing his series, he stated that he knew from the very beginning he personally knew that Anna would be transgender. The only reason why he delayed the big reveal was because his editors had advised him to wait a year for the audience to grow into the character before throwing the bombshell, something he is now grateful for as no one gave him backlash as most of his readers were hooked onto the character by the time of the reveal.

He went on to answer the long poised question of whether or not he was going to write another book in future revealing that instead of writing a fresh book, he plans on expanding the storyline of his previous books, making that part an entire spinoff from the original book.

The second section of the show started off with a fascinating read from his self-written memoir. The read touched on a point in his life when he was working in the Navy and had just begun to express himself robustly. Nothing short of explicit, the reading kept to the familiar writing of Armistead and was thought-provoking and vivid as ever.

After that, the Q&A followed. My favourite part of the night was a quote he gave when addressing the matter of equality and transphobia. He said, “It is just as much about straight people as it is about queer people. You have to apply everything across the border. Even as a queer man, you have no right to pass judgement on transgender people let alone on anyone else.” Before the end of show, he went on to mention that most of his influences in writing were English writers; the likes of Barbara Pym and Edward Benson, to name a few.

He wrapped up a wonderful 120-minute show with a signing meeting with his fans and a sale of some signed copies of his latest writing.

02/10/2019

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Bryan Mfhaladi