Burgerz: The UK import we all need a taste of

Burgerz is described as a cooking, show, a trans reclamation story, a piece of (brilliant) theatre, and a deeply personal work that confronts society’s complicity (in oh so many things). Those descriptions of Burgerz while accurate don’t tell the whole truth. It is a bit like setting out a spread for dinner that has a basket of rolls, a plate of grilled minced meat patties, a bowl of tomatoes and a bowl of onion slices. On their own they are tasty foods. There is the soft comfort of a white bun. There is the sweet juiciness of a tomato. There is the salty earthiness of a hot charred meat patty. There are the onions that will always make you cry. You could eat each one individually with fork and knife, bite by bite, but that’s not their full potential. Put them together into the perfect hot, cold, salty, sweet, crunchy and tender layered sandwich, that we all know as a hamburger, and the whole is much greater than the individual parts.

Burgerz by name and description may leave you intrigued, but the show is so much more than you can infer from these descriptions. As with all good comedy, the performance will change slightly given the audience, the day, the energy in the room. This is not just a one person stand up show though. It is not a comedy set turned theatre piece. It is much more dynamic. Travis Alabanza takes that risk factor, which requires a comedian to read the room to another level when a more intimate dialogue begins between the audience and the performer. Alabanza brings a representative audience member into their space and the performance is that much richer for it.

Burgerz at Emerson’s Paramount Center in Boston through April 24th Photo: Dorothea Tuch

Performer Travis Alabanza is an incredibly talented artist storyteller and teacher. They captivate an audience diverse in age, race, and preferred place on the gender spectrum from the moment they step on stage until the standing ovation at the end. Burgerz is performed in the a black box theatre at the Emerson Paramout Center, which is the perfect setting for such an intimate performance.

Travis Alabanza shares so much of their experiences, all while keeping the audience laughing to soften the harsh realities we too often have the privilege to ignore. Alabanza creates a performance that has the audience feeling comfortable, safe and trusting while sharing experiences of their life in this world that offers none of that safety, comfort and trust to them as a trans person. The show will leave you with sore cheeks from laughing, a warmth in your heart from this shared experience, a heavy dose of outrage (if you are paying attention), and several questions wedged in your brain hopefully awakening some of those dormant parts that have forgotten to question why the options are limited to hot dog or hamburger?

Actor, performer, comedian, artist, beautiful smart, and witty human Travis Alabanza in Burgerz at Emerson’s Paramount Center in Boston through April 24th Photo: Dorothea Tuch

The show is recommended for age 14+ and I think anyone and everyone who can get to the show before Burgerz leaves Boston on April 24th, should try to see it.

Tickets for Burgerz cost $60 and may be purchased 24/7 at ArtsEmerson.org, or by calling 617-824-8400 (Tue-Sat from 12:00PM ET – 6:00PM ET). The Paramount Center Box Office (559 Washington Street, Boston) is open for walk-up service Thu-Sat from Noon – 6:00 PM ET. Groups of 10+ attending a performance save up to 30%.

Thanks to generous support from Rockland Trust, a limited number of $10 Mobile Rush tickets will be available at 10:00 AM ET each performance day on a first-come, first-served basis, exclusively through the TodayTix mobile app. For more information, please click on General Public when you visit ArtsEmerson’s Offers web page. You will also find information for youth and student tickets there as well as senior and other discounts.

Content Warning:
ArtsEmerson understands that certain types of content could trigger past traumatic experiences for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains scenes discussing violence and harassment towards trans people and issues sensitive to the LGBTQ+ community. Real meat, haze, and loud music is used in the performance.

Running Time:
70 minutes, no intermission

Public Health Information:
The Theatres of Emerson College firmly believes in the importance of a fully vaccinated community, and the utmost priority is the safety of patrons, program participants, artists, and team members. Efforts will continue to re-evaluate and establish new guidelines to ensure that protocols fulfill the promise of supporting the well- being of all.
Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry to all events. According to the CDC, “full COVID-19 vaccination” is defined as two weeks after one dose of a single-shot regimen, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna. Currently, booster shots are not required under the new policy. Masks covering mouth and nose are mandatory inside all venues at all times (except for speakers, performers, and musicians while actively participating in a
performance.

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