Produced by Tiny Bear Jaws
Being queer in Alberta’s not for the faint of heart. Your sex toys’ batteries keep dying from the cold, your bar doubles as a senior’s dance hall, and your government won’t stop trying to sell you on the merits of conversion therapy. But while your community’s smaller, it’s also uniquely awesome.
GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM is a fast-paced, joyfully provocative queer sketch show straight from the heart of the God-fearing, gun-toting, beef-loving Alberta prairies. Created and performed by gay, short, and hot non-binary comedians Elena (or Eli) Belyea (they/she) and Syd Campbell (they/them), GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM is out to queer the world, one denim punchline at a time.
What Is the Inspiration For Your Piece?
(The seed of inspiration)
Because so many LGBTQ+ stories set in conservative backdrops focus on grief and isolation, GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM centres queer self-actualization and joy. Sketches are punctuated by monologues from Elena and Syd’s lives about growing up gay in ‘Berta, giving the audience a chance to land and get their bearings before the jokes start flying again. These monologues make GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM more than “just a sketch show”: they’re the connective tissue tying the show together, providing an unflinching look of the complex realities of life as part of a marginalized community. Risky, raunchy, and surprisingly heartfelt, GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM will get you laughing, whatever your pronouns.
What Point In Process Is Your Piece At?
(What stage of growth is your piece at, sapling, sprout, tree, shrub, whatever you feel)
We created and premiered GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM back in August 2019 at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. In March 2020, we received invites to curated festivals across Canada, but then COVID-`19 intervened, forcing us to postpone our sexy summer plans.
Because there’s a limit to how much sourdough you can bake in a day, we started filming and posting daily sketches to our Instagram and TikTok from the comfort of our own homes. We also received a grant from Canada Council to develop our live show into a web series.
After multiple postponements, we’re stoked to return home with this show after touring it to Vancouver, Wells, Toronto, and Calgary. We currently in the process of editing our web series as well, and looking forward to releasing that online this upcoming summer.
Approximate or Estimated Duration:
Warnings or Content Advisories
gender dysphoria, sexual assault and harassment, transphobia, conversion therapy, sexual innuendos, references to drugs, alcohol, references to masturbation, sexual content, misgendering, swearing, descriptions of cartoon violence.
Co-Created and performed by
ELENA ELI BELYEA and SYDNEY CAMPBELL
Directed and additional writing by
With musical guest
ELENA ELI BELYEA, SYDNEY CAMPBELL, TORI MORRISON
Sound design by
ROCHELLE LAPLANTE, MOHAMED AHMED, FRANCES GIRARD, STEVEN SOBOLEWSKI
David Walker, Geoffrey Simon Brown, Fringe Theatre Alyson Dicey, Pips, Bob Campbell, Laurie Phipps-Campbell.
Premiered at the Edmonton Fringe in 2019. Held-over for two nights at the Grindstone Theatre.
Presented as part of the 2022 rEvolver Festival (Vancouver), part of the Sunset Theatre’s 2021-2022 season (Wells), ran at Buddies in Bad Times (Toronto), and was part of Downstage’s 2022-2023 season (Calgary).