Beauty Vlog: Queering St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Imperialism, Colonialism in Southeast Asia

Trans actors Aldrin Bula and Istifen Baklang Kanal of Baklang Kanal. UP Repertory Company’s Gio Potes directed the piece for Pantheons: Sculpture at St Paul’s Cathedral, c.1796-1916 

St. Paul Cathedral in London and the Department of Art History at York University commissioned me to write a piece as an ‘artist response’ to the monument of Granville Gower Loch for Pantheons: Sculpture at St Paul’s Cathedral, c.1796-1916. I was expected to write about 700 to 1000-word piece but I’ve decided to make it extra and wrote a dramatic monologue playing around with the popular social media form of beauty vlogging. Why Handsome Single Guys Die in Burma is my first attempt on stage to engage the British colonial history and empire.

When I submitted the script fabulous folks from York University decided to why not perform it with actors! And so I tagged along theatremaker friends from Manila to develop and perform the script.

You can read the script, watch the video, and read about the Loch and the project here.

This is the monument of the Scottish colonial soldier Granville Gowe Loch inside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Loch died in battle in Burma at the turn of the 20th century. St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Department of History of Art, York University invited 50 artists, writers, and academics across to ‘respond’ to monuments inside the Cathedral.

Okay, here’s more! Weeks after the release of Why Handsome Single Guys Die in Burma, influencer and popular vlogger Martin Rules reinterpreted the piece for her popular YouTube Channel Philippine True Crime Stories.

You can watch Martin here!

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