Trafford Tanzi

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Trafford Tanzi
Written by Clare Luckham
Date premiered 1980
Setting wrestling ring

Trafford Tanzi is a play by Clare Luckham.[1] It was originally performed as Tuebrook Tanzi, The Venus Flytrap by the Everyman Theatre Company in Liverpool in 1978[2][3] before moving to Manchester as Trafford Tanzi in 1980,[4] later achieving commercial success in London.[5]

Plot[edit]

The play is set in a wrestling ring where the story of the title character, Tanzi, is told.[5] Tanzi's parents bring her up to be feminine, but she refuses to conform to traditional femininity and is labelled a tomboy.[5] She marries a professional wrestler named Dean Rebel and supports him in his career.[6] Eventually, she becomes a champion professional wrestler herself and finally challenges her husband Dean to a match, with the loser being required to do the housework.[6]

In keeping with the wrestling theme, the play is divided into ten rounds, each of which ends with a bell.[5][7] All of the cast members participate in wrestling during the play, and the audience is welcome to cheer and boo the characters as though they were at an actual wrestling match.[5][7]

History[edit]

The word "Trafford" in the play's title refers to the metropolitan borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, England.[8] The play has also been produced under a variety of other titles, including Tuebrook Tanzi,[9] Tarzana Tanzi, Tujunga Tanzi, Turbo Tanzi,[10] Texas Tanzi,[11] Tickfaw Tanzi,[12] and Tarantula Tanzi.[13]

The play was originally performed in Trafford in 1980 by the feminist Monstrous Regiment Theatre Group.[8] The play has sometimes been described as having a "bourgeois feminist" perspective.[4][5] Singer and actress Toyah Willcox starred in a production at the Mermaid Theatre in London, from March to August 1983.

Teaneck Tanzi[edit]

In 1983, the play was produced on Broadway under the title Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap.[14] Alternating in the lead role of Tanzi were Deborah Harry (lead singer of the band Blondie) and Caitlin Clarke; the role was double-cast because of the strenuous nature of the wrestling involved.[15] Also appearing in the Broadway production was comedian Andy Kaufman as the referee;[8][14] Kaufman was attracted to the role because of the wrestling theme.[16] (Kaufman had himself been known for wrestling against women and had claimed to be the world inter-gender wrestling champion, known for his staged match with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler.[17]) Despite the play's previous success in London, though, Teaneck Tanzi closed on Broadway after one performance.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wandor, Michelene (2001). Post-War British Drama: Looking Back in Gender. London: Routledge. p. 199. ISBN 0-203-45111-2. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  2. ^ "Cambridge University Press Orlando Claire Luckham Overview". Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "Tuebrook Tanzi, The Venus Fly Trap : Liverpool John Moores University Digital Collections". Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Peacock, D. Keith (1999). Thatcher's Theatre: British Theatre and Drama in the Eighties. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 155. ISBN 0-313-29901-3. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Wandor, Michelene (1986). Carry On, Understudies: Theatre & Sexual Politics. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 177. ISBN 0-7102-0817-0. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  6. ^ a b Wandor, Michelene (2001). Post-War British Drama: Looking Back in Gender. London: Routledge. p. 200. ISBN 0-203-45111-2. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  7. ^ a b Carlson, Susan (1991). Women & Comedy: Rewriting the British Theatrical Tradition. University of Michigan Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-472-10187-0. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  8. ^ a b c Hillhouse, Dave (10 March 2010). "Trafford Tanzi still resonates 30 years later". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  9. ^ Simon, John (2 May 1983). "Childish Adults, Grown-Up Kids". New York. p. 82. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  10. ^ Shirley, Don (28 September 1996). "'Gangsta Love' Falls Short of Expectations". Los Angeles Times. p. F-12. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  11. ^ Phillips, Michael (20 October 1994). "`Tanzi' wrestles with tough issues, but does it with humor". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. 30. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  12. ^ "Audience participation all part of LSU production". The Advocate. Baton Rouge, La. 23 March 1987. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Mukherjee, Udayan (21 September 2009). "Stages in the evolution of English theatre". Daily News & Analysis. Mumbai. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Rich, Frank (21 April 1983). "Stage: 'Teaneck Tanzi,' Comedy from Britain". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  15. ^ Anderson, George (15 March 1983). "Summertime, and the schedule is busy". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  16. ^ Zmuda, Bob; Matthew Scott Hansen (2001). Andy Kaufman Revealed! Best Friend Tells All. Back Bay. p. 256. ISBN 0-316-61098-4. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  17. ^ "Andy Kaufman in hospital with wrestling injury". Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Fla. 6 April 1982. p. 2-A. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  18. ^ Gussow, Mel (5 May 1983). "Critic's Notebook; Olivier and His Genius, an Expanse of Classics". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 

External links[edit]