FTM Based on his own life, writer-performer David Harrison's play features Harrison's portrayals of numerous characters including Tess, a girl who wants to be a boy, and Tim a transsexual male. Harrison connects most effectively in his depiction of the painful and awkward space of transition. He renders a stirring depiction of Tim's mother's battle with breast cancer, which is effectively juxtaposed against Tim's coming to terms with his new male identity. Although Harrison's performance style is subdued, along with a few confusing transitions, at its best FTM is a witty and poignant look at the courage it takes to be true to oneself.
Minneapolis Star Tribune June 23,1995
FTM: For the uninitiated, FTM means female-to-male. David Harrison's one-man play deals with the rigors of a sex-change operation for a woman in our society. At the same time Harrison explores the pain of breast cancer, something that he went through before his own sex-change operation. "FTM" is compelling and well-written, alternating between Tim, a boy, Tess, a girl who wants to be a boy, and Tess' mother, who has breast cancer. This isn't a weird play, just an uncomfortable subject. Harrison challenges traditional structure by changing frequently from one character to another, and by sharing his own confusion about his body and what's inside.
The Orlando Sentinel April 15, 1996
FTM. What can a one-man show about a woman who has undergone a gender change have to say to a mixed audience? A lot, it turns out. David Harrison's gentle autobiographical work FTM demonstrates the complexity of his decision to become a man, after 35 years as a woman, and the simplicity of his desire to finally become the person he always wanted to be. And the show's poignantly funny tone points out how similar we all really are. Harrison's wry, quiet performance style belies the powerful emotional upheaval that must have spurred him to create this work. He matter of factly discusses how the change has affected his life. "Caterpillars are lucky, he said. "They can go somewhere quiet to undergo their change." the only unfortunate thing about this performance Saturday was the distracting bleed-through of sound from the venue next door.
The Saskatoon StarPhoenix August 8, 1995
Undoubtedly, some will come to see David Harrison's FTM out of prurient interest: the same folks who might have lined up to look at the bearded lady at the side-show. Yet Harrison's performance is so harrowingly honest, he'll give even the gawkers insight into the human condition. It was a challenge for Harrison to use as material for theatre his own transformation from the girl, Catherine, who grew up in Saskatoon, to the man working as an actor in San Francisco. The female-to-male (FTM) metamorphosis is so recent, he is still struggling with it. This provides a dangerous edge to the performance that makes it quintessential Fringe. At the same time, the experience wavers between theatrical performance and therapy. Audience members are often painfully aware they're not merely being entertained and informed: they're watching someone bare his soul. It's most successful as theatre when Harrison illuminates the contradictions in his own identity and steps into the last days of his mother, in her battle with breast cancer. The illness was another bond between them: he, too recently had treatment for breast cancer, after which he yielded to the recurring impulse to change his gender through testosterone injections. While few people can identify with the changes Harrison has undergone, the underlying theme of alienation is a universal one. His quest to feel comfortable in his skin, and to be accepted by others makes FTM a Fringe must-see.