Short Skirt Butch: Poly, Break-ups and Indentity Explored

“Personally, I have never been in a triad relationship,” reveals playwright Lee-Anne Poole, creator of Short Skirt Butch. “But as someone who is generally polyamorous in my relationships I find the dynamic pretty darn fascinating. Relationships can be hard and complicated. Feelings are complicated. Non-monogamist relationships are often viewed as even more complex. Then taking three people on equal footing in a relationship, a triad, I thought that dynamic could bring a lot of interesting and heightened emotions to the character."

Opening this weekend as part of Atlantic Fringe Festival, Short Skirt Butch is a one-person play about Jean, the dumped ‘third’ of a poly triad relationship. Taking place one year after the break up, Jean confesses to the audience all of the things she did after it happened. “She does go a little crazy, it's fun to laugh at, as I think a lot of people can identify with these kind of thoughts...though hopefully don't act on them. She stalks, she breaks back into the home and steal a special sex toy, etc.”

While Short Skirt Butch centres on a character who has been in a poly relationship, it is not entirely intended to be about that dynamic. Instead it is about what the character of Jean is going through post-relationship. That relationship was strong, but unhealthy and Lee-Anne suggests it is definitely not one to base a new relationship on.

Throughout the struggle that Jean endures, another emerges in the play—that of her identity. Despite there being so many labels that can be affixed based on sexuality, look, preference and attitude, those labels are often, ultimately, limiting and not representative of a person’s true feeling.

“The title came out of a conversation I had about a year ago,” Poole relates. “Making fun of terms, and terms I didn't really like for myself even though by definition they might seem to fit me (bisexual, femme, ex.) and short skirt butch came out of that conversation as a solution. All in fun. Really, I just simply define myself as queer (even though, queer, isn't really that simple). In the play Jean goes through all of the words that she has used to describe herself at one time or another. Lesbian, bisexual, lipstick lesbian, baby dyke, tranny chaser, etc. She settles on Short Skirt Butch.”

"I love femmes. But I hate femme, I’m not one. I’m gross, I spit. I take much less time getting ready than most of the butches I know. I’m not really sure what masculinity or femininity is, but...and maybe this is just a little lady phobia on my part. But, I don’t like being a lady. Like a lady, lady. Short skirt butch."
-Jean, 'Short Skirt Butch'

Ultimately, despite the stalker stories, the differing relationship and personal identities, Lee-Anne believes that Jean is a character we can all identify with. “I think Jean is someone people will be able to relate to in one way or another. No matter what kind of relationship you are in, how many people are involved, sexually open or closed, heartbreak is heartbreak. And It's horrible. And it drives us a little mad sometimes.”

Short Skirt Butch opens Friday September 2 as part of Atlantic Fringe Festival.