Please welcome playwright, vlogger, blogger, podcaster, and all around AWESOME person, Ashley Lauren Rogers to Once and Future!
The lights go out. Darkness all around. Creepy organ music plays and fire shoots out of the ring posts illuminating the arena. My friend, my father, and I are far close enough that we can feel the fire. I am in awe of “The big red machine,” Kane as he and his brother The Undertaker enter the Paul Tsongas arena as the Brothers of Destruction. I never wanted this moment to end.
Pro wrestling is one of the most visceral forms of storytelling I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I know what you’ve been told “Professional Wrestling is fake,” and yeah, it’s pre-determined (for the most part) but so is The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The characters are over the top and ridiculous, the storylines are meant to pull at your emotions, and the physical storytelling and athleticism are second to none.
Growing up I’d create characters and wrestle with my cousins. A fun pastime that grew into backyard wrestling (I never hit my friends with lighting tubes, or barbed wire baseball bats though). For me it was always about the characters. We’d work out how to do the moves we knew ahead of time, enter to our favorite songs, and cut promos on one another, then create matches based on the moves we worked out ahead of time. It was some of the most fun I’d ever had.
Engaging in pro wrestling, as a fan and in (backyard) practice, helped steer me towards a career in the arts. Those moments in the arenas watching Kane, and The Undertaker, and the 1-2-3 Kid, and Rob Van Dam were some of my earliest experiences with theatre. A truly great piece of theatre will move you in a way other mediums can’t. You’re there physically with performers bearing their soul in front of you convincing you what they are experiencing is reality... and in those moments they are. I have lost my voice screaming for CM Punk to beat John Cena, I have cried witnessing Bayley overcome the odds against Sasha Banks, I was nervous to interview Rey Mysterio Jr. and Kane (who’s now the Republican nominee for Mayor of Knox County Kentucky...), and I felt real fear being in the same space with the Undertaker at a time where I was old enough to know he was playing a character but young enough to want to believe. I love Pro Wrestling because I always want that feeling.
Which is why I am creating a new piece of theatre called SCOWL: Fight For Your Rights, a queer/trans centric, action-packed piece of stage combat theatre in the vein of GLOW, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, and WWE which aims to use Pro Wrestling Story Telling but apply stage combat, acrobatics, and improv to create a new theatrical experience. SCOWL: Fight For Your Rights will be premiering this July at The Brick’s Transgender Theatre Festival in Brooklyn, but we’re in the beginning stages of a crowd funding campaign . If you can’t make it to Brooklyn, don’t worry--we intend to film and release the footage on YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing outlets!
Here is the IndieGoGo link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/scowl-fight-for-your-rights
Ashley Lauren Rogers earned a Bachelor’s of English Literature and Theatre at Fitchburg State College. Her most recent ten minute play “Tag You’re Dead,” about the medical gatekeeping and erasure of the trans experience premiered at Joe’s Pub as part of the Nasty Women Unite arts festival. Her collection of short plays The Illustrated Xmas Sweater was produced in December 2016 by Step1 Theatre Project under the name Falsehoods, Fallacies, and Fairytales which played to mostly sold out houses. Ashley was invited to the two week summer playwriting intensive at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, had shows produced in New York City as part of Stage Left Studio and the New York Nineteenth Century Society, Theatre To Go in Melrose MA, and as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC. Recently her work has been displayed as part of Stage Left Studio’s sold out Gender: A Performance Project, and her show Bite Curious, was a part of White Rabbit Production’s Scream Queens and Crazed Fiends, short play event. Her one person show PASS/FAIL received its premiere at Dixon Place Lounge NYC was performed for The Midtown International Theatre Festival, and was part of the Trans Theatre Festival at The Brick in Brooklyn and has since been performed at the University of Wisconsin, as well as in Cincinatti, Piscataway NJ, and upcoming in Detroit. Ashley is also a Joker with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC
Ashley is a recipient of the ACM Award for Comedy Video for writing the pilot of Marisa and Rocco, is the creator of Ashley Rogers Does Something Awesome, Monthly Tea with Madeline Foxtrot, all through Dogtoon Media. She has been featured in the Frenchy and The Punk Music video for “House of Cards,” Sundance Channel’s “Young Broke and Beautiful,” and TLC’s “Bling It On.” Ashley has written articles for Cosmopolitan, The Mary Sue, SFWA, John Scalzi Blog, Beyond Victoriana and Steampunk Magazine Online, has been a vlogger and a blogger for NerdCaliber.com. Ashley has developed a workshop for writers to learn how write for trans and nonbinary narratives and is available on WritingTheOther.com. Ashley is the Producer/creator of the Is It Transphobic? Podcast and Ashley is currently working on an untitled non-fiction manuscript for Three L Media.