Lazlo Ilya Pearlman | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Lazlo Ilya Pearlman

Project Title

Baring it all and Confessing Lies: Strategies to create productive disruption via ‘autobiographical’ and ‘confessional’ solo performance


Dr. Stephen Farrier


The current fruit of 25 years of politically engaged performance experience, my Practice-as Research project explores methods of productive audience upset via the reveal of the “Other,” and the subversion of “confessional” autobiographical performance.

I have used the strip as a strategy, first setting up audience expectation that I be normatively male. The shock of my revealed naked “Otherness” upsets that expectation and creates a productive moment of rupture, a moment outside of confessional identity culture.

However, this moment is subject to immediate recuperation, requiring me to become a confessing subject. I am therefore at the risk of being an authenticating subject, again fixing narratives of “identity,” and closing down the moment of un-confessed space.

Can I then, as well as using my “Other” body to create this space, use the very thing that I am expected to do as performer at the margins – confess – as the basis for creating further audience upset moments?

Since what I am expected to do is to tell the truth….

What happens in my audiences if I lie?


Lazlo Ilya Pearlman is a creator, performer and director, whose work is often but not always generated by his FTM transgendered experience. He has been creating performances since childhood, first inspired by black and white musicals, comedies and film noir. He has made his way through (and returned to) many forms including physical theatre, performance art, cabaret, burlesque, camp/parody, clowning, film/video and traditional theatre. Lazlo holds a Master's degree in Physical Theatre, has created four solo shows, dozens of short works, and has written and directed short films. He has shown his work and given workshops and lectures throughout North America and Europe. Recent projects include the short work "Dance Me to the End of Love," exploring intimacy, vulnerability, partnering and the trans body via the strip, dance, and audience participation; and the documentary "Fake Orgasm," Directed by Jo Sol and produced by Zip Films and Christine Vachon.. His 2001 short film "Unhung Heroes," is the first caper comedy about the transmale experience.

Key Publications

2016 'Kisses Cause Trouble Le Vrai Spectacle: Queering the French, Frenching the Queer', in Queer Dramaturgies, Campbell, A and Stephen Farrier, eds. London:Palagrave.

2015. '‘Dissemblage’ and ‘Truth Traps’: Creating Methodologies of Resistance in Queer Autobiographical Theatre', Theatre Research International (TRI), 40.01: 88-91.

2014. 'Trans Arts and Artists in Trans Bodies', in Trans Selves, Erickson-Schroth, L. ed. New York:Oxford University Press.