romidant-diarmi  asked:

Since it's on it's way: imagine having to explain April Fool's Day and/or the concept of pranking one's friends for the sake of amusement. Like, maybe the aliens understand setting something up in regards to honing reflexes or something, but things like whoopee cushions and complex Rube Goldberg machines to fling shaving cream at someone just baffle them. Also the concept of a prank war in space is just amusing.

Thrnawxh watched in confusion as Human Frankie attached some sort of transparent film to the entryway, snickering to themself and occasionally looking over their shoulder as if fearing they were being watched. It put Thrnawxh ‘on edge’ as the humans would say.

In xir experience, if a human was worried, anyone else ought to be terrified.

Eventually, xir worry won out, causing xem to ask what Human Frankie was doing.

“It’s the first day of April.” Human Frankie said, baring their teeth in a show of either aggression, or bizarrely enough pleasure. Usually Thrnawxh would be able to guess which one it was based on a human’s statement, but this one made no sense.

“Also known as April Fool’s day, and oh boy does Sara got something coming for her.” Frankie continued, apparently having no idea that xe didn’t understand their explanation. What’s worse was that Human Sara apparently had something hunting them.

“And this device will stop Human Sara’s would-be attackers?” Xe asked, not sure how that would work, but xe had seen humans accomplish much more demanding things with seemingly worse odds.

“No, no what I meant is that Sara doesn’t-” they began before pausing, seemingly to reconsider whatever they were going to say. “You remember when I explained human humour to you, right?”

“Yes, when I believed you were ill because of your stomach contracting while you looked at an oddly shaped root vegetable.”  Thrnawxh confirmed, not seeing the relevance.

“Great. So this is a joke. I’m going to play a prank on Sara, because it’s April’s Fool’s day.” They said, though some of the words didn’t seem to translate well or at all to xir native language.

“I do not understand,” xe said, looking up at them in a way xe hoped Human Frankie would realise was questioning. Xir hopes were however not high.

“Shit, right okay. Erm. So a prank is a trick - you know what a trick is, right? Good. It’s a trick that you pull on someone because it’s funny, or like today, because it’s tradition. Sometimes they’re mean, but unless you’re a dickhead, they’re just funny. Like… shoving a pie in someone’s face, or pulling cellophane across the doorway and having them walk into it. Just, harmless fun, you know? And April Fool’s day is the first day of April - that’s one of our months; one of the sub-parts we divide the time it takes for our home planet to orbit the sun into. So it’s the first day of that sub-part, and it’s tradition to prank people.” Human Frankie explained, giving a small nod when they were done as if confirming what they’d just said.

“Why?” Xe asked, getting only a shrug in return - a signal of uncertainty or non-commitment. “What purpose does it serve?”

“Oh, no no purpose. I mean, maybe it did at one time? Superstition or what ever, but it’s just fun.” Human Frankie said before delving into a story of a prank they and a friend did on an authoritarian learning monitor when they were younger.

The story itself was interesting, though Thrnawxh was hardly able to focus when xe had so much new information to process about human behaviour.

Xe certainly had a lot left to learn.

Love in Other Words
(Part Two of Two)

Part One

By the time Jamie caught up to Ian and Claire, Ian had worn down much of Claire’s resistance. When she saw Jamie and the pleading in his eyes, the rest dissolved. She had come for more than just herself; she had come to bring him news of his daughter and was slightly ashamed to have been so quick to run away.

That didn’t make the prospect of meeting with him in the house he shared with another woman any more palatable, however.

With Ian accompanying them on the walk to that house, there was little either was comfortable saying to the other. Luckily, the lad––who had come to Edinburgh to surprise his uncle and enjoy himself––was more than happy with the excitement of the unexpected turn of events.

“Mam says ye’re the one told her to start plantin’ potatoes and that it’s a right miracle ye did,” he informed Claire as he worked on recounting everything he’d ever heard said of her, the mysterious aunt who healed folk and seemed to have the sight––might even be a fairy or possibly a witch.

“That’s right,” Claire confirmed for him.

“Dinna talk yer auntie’s ear off before we even get home,” Jamie chided, then flushed as he caught Claire looking sideways at him.

Claire took a deep breath as Ian ran ahead to the front door of what must be Jamie and Mary’s house; it looked like the two houses on either side had crowded in on it and in response it had sucked in it’s stomach and raised itself on its toes in an attempt to be taller and skinnier.

Jamie’s hand was suddenly on her elbow helping to guide her up the steps and through the door behind Ian.

It smelled wonderful. Mary had meat roasting in a deep skillet set at the edge of the hearth and Claire thought she smelled some vegetables and butter alongside them. The space, while small, was clean, warm, and inviting. There was already a small pallet in one corner with blankets that Ian was arranging for his use that evening. There were a few shelves with books, a shadow of the study and library he’d had at Lallybroch; perhaps he had even printed those copies himself. A pair of chairs sat opposite each other near the hearth, a basket of knitting and mending next to one, the other in reach of the bookshelves. Claire could easily picture them sitting together in the evening, Mary mending Jamie’s shirt while he read to her.

Jamie kept contact with Claire, his hand drifting from her elbow to the small of her back as he led her inside.

Mary appeared from the doorway that led to the kitchen and dining area and smiled encouragingly at Claire.

“Supper will be ready presently. Jamie can show ye upstairs to wash if ye like.”

Claire turned to Jamie who nodded but she could also see the self-consciousness in the flush creeping up his neck.

The stairway was narrow and steep and Claire was incredibly aware of everything around her as Jamie opened to what could only be the bedroom he shared with Mary. The bed sported two distinct depressions––she couldn’t help noting the space between them; there was a single small table that they clearly shared with Mary’s brush and hair pins on one side and a small stack of paper with a bottle of ink and a single quill marking Jamie’s side.

Claire spotted the second smaller table with its basin and ewer and a small mirror next to the door and moved to do something that, after years of surgery, she found incredibly calming. Jamie poked around the room while Claire poured the water and scrubbed away the dust and sweat of her journey then dampened a nearby cloth to wipe it from her face and neck too. She caught Jamie’s reflection in the mirror watching her from a seat on the edge of the bed as she toyed with some loose tendrils of her hair, repinning them and patting down the frizz.

It was easier for her to begin while not looking at him directly.

“I thought he was your son,” she said quietly.

“I ken what ye thought,” Jamie admitted. “He’s more a son to me than any of Jenny and Ian’s other bairns––they’ve six and near twice as many grandbairns now… But I’ve no children with Mary.”

There was a beat and Claire waited for him to finish the thought or by any other women but when his eyes found hers––even in the reflection of the mirror––she could see that it wasn’t coming. His fear that she would flee again was also evident when his eyes drifted from hers to the door just a foot away. She swallowed then carefully rinsed and wrung out the dirty cloth she’d been using before folding it and setting it next to the basin.

“I do have a son, but I need ye to let me explain,” he begged.

Claire nodded and moved to sit beside him on the bed, her hands flat on the fabric of her skirt.

“Go ahead,” she told him keeping her eyes on the fading redness in her fingers from where she had scrubbed the skin hard from habit.

Jamie told her about his time at Helwater and Ardsmuir before that; about Major Grey and how his brother had spared his life after Culloden; he told her about the cave and the one night he shared there with Mary.

“When we wed––Mary and I––she said that night had been consummation enough though it was years before. That night before I was handed over… she was right––it gave me something that helped me when I went to Ardsmuir… but it took something from me too,” Jamie tried to explain. He couldn’t look at Claire but he could feel her sitting there beside him listening and saying nothing. “I think she didna want me to lose more of whatever it was… that what there was to gain wasna enough to justify that loss.”

“And… you lost some of that with… with the woman at Helwater?” Claire asked.

Jamie nodded. “I dinna quite ken what it is but… I think it’s to do with you… with the man I was when I was with ye; the man ye made me.”

“Did the boy––your son––did… did he give some of it back?”

The corner of Jamie’s mouth ticked up but Jamie shrugged. “Perhaps. He was a braw lad and did bring me joy though I couldna claim him for my own. I didna see him much when he was a wee thing––more when he got so he could walk and would make his nurses mad wi’ findin’ trouble. His mother’s family would ha’ let him commit murder wi’out taking him to task but he minded me well enough and the horses fascinated him. I could see… He didna have my hair––and thank the lord for small miracles for that… but I could see a bit of myself in him and the way he looked. I always… wondered…” Jamie peeked up at Claire then but she was still looking at her hands in her lap. “I wondered… did he look like his brother? Was Brian that old when he walked first or started talkin’… I didna think you would be so indulgent as William’s nurses were.”

“Brian?” Claire blinked, momentarily confused.

Jamie watched tears flood her eyes as his meaning settled and Claire reached for something in her skirt pocket, something that rustled.

“You can see for yourself,” she explained extricating a small packet that had some sort of shiny film encasing it. “But, your William doesn’t have an older brother,” she handed him the packet. They seemed to be some sort of printed paper but of a thick stock and with a shiny finish that was different from the transparent film that Claire had removed. “I called her Brianna,” Claire told him, adjusting the item in his hands so that he could make out the image of a swaddled newborn. “She’s named for both your parents, actually––Brianna Ellen. She did inherit your hair…” Claire pointed to one of the images that was brightly colored, the lass’ ruddy hair vibrant enough to touch. She moved that image behind to stack to bring a new one to the front. Brianna looked out from the photo with annoyance and disgust as laughs escaped both Jamie and Claire. “She’s got more than a bit of your temper and stubbornness too.”

“She’s beautiful, Claire,” Jamie said, his voice full of tears and his fingers gripping the photographs tightly.

She looked up at him with worry. His eyes were still locked on the photos though she knew he couldn’t see them through the tears.

“I’m… I’m so sorry I couldna… that I canna…” he mumbled.

Instinctively Claire slipped an arm around him and guided his head till it came to rest on her shoulder. The photos fluttered as his grip loosened and they drifted to the floor, his freed hands and arms tightening desperately around Claire. She clung to him, too.

“Do ye think… Do ye feel…” Jamie mumbled into her hair.

“What do I feel?” Claire asked before sighing and letting her head rest against his, her cheek pressed to the warmth of his throat. “I feel… tired. I’m tired of missing you; I’m tired of being angry with you for making me go; I’m tired of being scared of what you’ll think or what you’ll say.” As she spoke her tears flowed freely, wetting his throat and dribbling down the back of his neck. She was vaguely aware of his tears dampening the collar of her dress. “I’m tired of living without you.”

“Aye… In twenty years there’s not a day I’ve not thought of ye and longed to have ye with me… that I’ve no wanted to talk to ye or just have yer hand to hold,” he murmured. “Now ye’re here… If ye go again…”

Claire sniffed and turned her face away from his neck, keeping her cheek pressed to his shoulder but looking at the table with Mary’s things on it.

“And what about Mary? If you didn’t have another wife…”

Jamie’s deep breath shuddered through Claire causing her to pick up her head and pull back to look at him. He rubbed at his red and watery eyes.

“If… If Mary weren’t my wife any longer…”

“I didn’t come here to break apart whatever it is you’ve built with her,” Claire interrupted firmly but with evident pain. “I’ve been close enough to the other side before––”

“Frank had a wife before ye and she came back for him did she?” Jamie quipped but Claire wasn’t amused. Jamie bent to begin retrieving the fallen photographs.

“I might not have loved Frank the way I love you––maybe not even the way you care for Mary––but I’ve been close enough to having someone else upend my entire life without asking. I’m not about to do the same to someone else––especially not someone who’s done nothing wrong,” Claire argued.

“Ye’re right… It’s no the same wi’ me and Mary as it was for you and Frank,” he said rising from the bed to retrieve the scattered photographs from the floor. “She never sought to replace ye or made me feel guilty for no bein’ able to let ye go. She’s been a comfort and no mistake but you…” He set the carefully stacked photographs with his things on the table and crossed to take Claire’s face gently between his hands, making it impossible for her to look away from him. “You alone heal me down to my very soul. Havin’ ye near makes me feel whole again, makes me feel stronger. Ye’re the heart of my life.” He bent his head and kissed the tracks of her tears along her cheeks until she took hold of his wrists and offered him her lips.

The kiss left her breathless and the silence stretched between them as he rested his forehead against hers. They could hear the commotion downstairs as Mary told Ian that supper wasn’t ready just yet and the over-eager teen whined about how hungry he was.

“I should go see if she needs any help,” Claire whispered. “It’s the least I can do.”

Jamie nodded and helped pull Claire to her feet. She led the way while he secreted the photographs of Brianna away.

Once his stomach was full, Ian curled up on the pallet in the corner and promptly fell asleep.

“Did anyone notice whether he turned around three times first?” Claire asked quietly.

It had surprised her how calm everything had been after she and Jamie came back downstairs; Mary smiled and asked Claire about her journey, about where she’d been and what had happened, how she’d heard about Jamie and found him after all this time. It was impossible not to relax confronted with such warmth and welcome. Ian too had chimed in with questions––what was life like for her in France, had she kept in touch with the other Jacobites who had managed to escape, why hadn’t she written to his parents once she was settled to let them know she lived.

“I’m sorry if it feels like I’m questioning ye too much,” Mary apologized, rising to remove the bowls and dirtied plates. “It’s just… ye always were such a mystery even before.”

“Let me help you wash up,” Claire offered taking her own bowl to the kitchen area. She heard Jamie rising and locking the house up for the night, adding a log to the fire and pulling a third chair over.

Alone with Mary, Claire felt compelled to apologize.

“If I had known about you and Jamie…”

Mary waved a dismissive hand at Claire. “If either of ye had kent the truth about the other bein’ still alive, there wouldna be anythin’ for ye to worry yerself over. It shouldna take too long to straighten this mess.”

“You… truly don’t mind?” Claire asked, still unconvinced.

Mary smiled to herself. “I ken ye didna notice me so much about Lallybroch when ye were there––no wi’ what ye had just gone through yerself.”

Claire blushed at the memory of those early days back in Scotland after everything that had happened in France. It did take a while for the comforts of Lallybroch and the reassurance of having Jamie with her where they belonged had healed those still-fresh hurts.

“I noticed you,” she assured Mary. “I don’t know that I ever told you how sorry I was about what happened to your husband––to Ronald, that is.”

Mary nodded. “I tried to dissuade him, ye ken. After the beating Jamie gave him and Rabbie goin’ to work in yer stables. I tried to get him to leave it but he wouldna heed and… Ye’d done my Rabbie a kindness and I tried to repay ye… tried and failed. And Mistress… that is… Jenny––she and Ian showed still more kindness givin’ me a place at Lallybroch too after the fire. And when ye came back and Rabbie had his fits…”

Claire heard the thickening of Mary’s voice as she rambled and the somewhat strangled noise as Mary swallowed her tears.

“I ken what ye would say––that ye’d have done as much for anyone––and I’m sure ye would. You and Jamie both… It’s just yer way. But it’s meant so much to me and mine… Yer Jamie needed someone to turn to when ye were gone and I’ve tried to be that for him since I couldna prevent what Ronald did before… I think I’ve done him some good though what he needed of me wasna what I first expected. Now ye’re here the best good I can do for both of ye is to let ye be. No… I truly dinna mind.”

Claire crossed and wrapped Mary in a hug surprising the other woman into briefly laughing before returning the embrace.

“Thank you,” Claire whispered. “Thank you for taking care of him.”

“Ye’re welcome, Mistress.”

Claire shook her head. “Claire. Please… call me Claire.”

“Ye’re welcome, Claire.”

Pulling back and wiping her own damp eyes, Claire rolled up the sleeves of her gown and moved to fetch the large kettle from where it was warming near the hearth, then brought it to the washtub where Mary was depositing the dirty dishes.

“Do you have an idea for what you will like to do once everything is settled? I don’t expect you’ll want to go back to Lallybroch.”

“My Rabbie’s settled in London now––with a wife. He’s asked me to come for a visit a few times now but I’ve no been in a position to do so before…” She looked to Claire conspiratorially casting her glance toward the light from the other room where the crisp sound of a page turning could occasionally be heard amongst the crackling of the fire in the hearth. “I’ve no told Jamie yet––the letter only came yesterday and I didna have a chance to go through it till this morning––but Rabbie writes they’re expectin’ a bairn.”

“Congratulations,” Claire whispered with sincere relief.

“Aye. Ye needna feel ye’re puttin’ me out. Like as not were ye here or no I’d be goin’ to London for a time anyhow. Now I dinna have to feel so torn about comin’ back or no.”

Jamie offered to sleep on the floor by Ian so the two women could have the comfort of a proper bed but Mary wouldn’t hear of it.

You ken better than anyone how easy I sleep in that chair,” Mary teased Jamie. “I enjoy the stories well enough but the sound of his voice sends me straight to sleep,” she explained to Claire. “He tried carryin’ me to bed once and put his back out and I scolded him enough he’s never tried it since.”

Claire pursed her lips as she took in the redness of Jamie’s face.

“Are you sure you don’t sleep better down here because you don’t have to listen to his snoring?” she asked, earning a glare from Jamie.

“I dinna snore so loud as you do, Sassenach.”

“Then I’ll sleep doubly well so far from both of yer snoring,” Mary said ushering the two of them to the stairs with a knowing grin that had Claire blushing alongside Jamie.

Nerves overcame Claire when she and Jamie were alone in the bedroom again. She crossed to where she saw Mary’s things and grabbed up the first things that her hands found.

“Mary will be needing these,” she stammered heading for the door again. “I’ll be right back.”

Mary already had a blanket spread in her lap and her feet propped up on a small footstool when Claire hesitantly approached.

“I thought you might want these,” Claire said, placing them on the floor beside Mary’s chair.

“He’s as nervous as you are,” Mary said quietly, her eyes still closed.

Claire rolled her eyes and slipped away again. Knowing Jamie was nervous too didn’t help quell the anxious fluttering in her stomach but it did steel her resolve.

A sole candle lit the room when Claire eased her way back in. Jamie’s clothes had been folded and set aside next to his boots and stockings. She could make out the shape of him sitting up in bed, waiting for her.

Reaching behind her, Claire took a deep breath that she let out as she pulled the zipper of her dress down to the base of her spine, the loose fabric slipping from her shoulders and baring her torso. The rest of the dress fell to the floor in a whisper of cotton a moment later. She swallowed as she stepped out of the dress, out of her shoes, and approached Jamie’s side of the bed in just her stockings.

“Jamie,” she breathed, extending one leg towards him in the dim, flickering light. “Will you help me with these?” There was nothing teasing or sultry in her voice, just a simple invitation to help them ease their way back into something that had once been accomplished with a look, a touch, a sigh.

Jamie shifted to the edge of the bed, his legs sliding free of the blankets. He took hold of Claire’s calf and gently raised her leg higher, resting her foot on one of his knees. His fingers skimmed their way up the silk stocking to find the garter holding it in place a few inches up her thigh and finding the gooseflesh his touch had raised when he overshot his mark.

The silk of her stocking was replaced by the light touch of his lips on her sensitive inner knee. Lowering one leg, she offered him the other and he did the same, resting his hand on her hip when he was done and guiding her closer to him till she stood between his knees. Her hands found their way into his hair, pulling his head back so he had to look her in the eye.

“Ye’re beautiful,” he whispered. “I’ve never wanted ye more than I do right now.”

She believed him and leaned into his kiss. He pulled her to him, easing back onto his elbows as she knelt above him on the bed before reaching between them and taking him into her. He closed his eyes for a moment, his head lolling back, then a smile lit his face.

“I thought when ye walked into the print shop ye must be a vision––one of my dreams escaped the night and found its way to me in the day,” he murmured as Claire slowly rocked her hips.

“Do you need me to pinch you to prove you’re not dreaming?” Claire offered. Her hand slid through the sparse hair on his chest as she reached for and found one of his nipples, gently squeezing between her thumb and forefinger and making his breath catch, his hands tighten on her waist.

“No, I ken ye’re no a dream,” he said, his hands applying pressure to her hips guiding her slowly forward and then back. “I could always tell when I took ye in a dream that there was something missing––I could feel my blood poundin’ wi’ yearning for ye but my chest felt empty. It’s full now, though; you are my heart restored to me. I am whole again.”

We are whole again,” Claire informed him before bending to kiss him once more and smiling against him as his need refused to be contained and he rolled with her so he could ride her hard and fast. They had all night and twenty years to make a start of remedying.


Gruinard Bay in Wester Ross - Scotland - 1960s by Martin Snelling
Via Flickr:
Scan from found 35mm film slide. Thanks to Fraser P. for confirming the location.


Hollywood has a long history of misrepresenting the transgender community. In a video presented by ScreenCrush and GLAAD, nine trans actors share their open letter to Hollywood, pointing out the tired clichés that they’d like to never see again and their hopes for the types of roles they’d like to play.

Written by Jen Richards

Produced by E. Oliver Whitney

Presented by ScreenCrush & GLAAD

Jaebum and Jackson mysteriously arrive in a students boxes?!

Jaebum and Jackson had no idea how they arrived there, but the student who was currently fast asleep didn’t seem to notice their presence as they watched her peacefully sleeping. “Who is she?” Jackson asked quietly.

“No idea…let’s just stay still and see what she does” Jaebum said under his breath, looking around her room and noticing all the language books and manga on her shelves.

After she woke up, got ready and left for her part time job - Jaebum managed to escape from his box with his sheer will power and wits!…while Jackson had a little more trouble than expected. “JB…help me! I can’t get out of here…what do I do?”

Jaebum thought long and hard, wondering just how he was going to attempt to break Jackson free. “Try rocking yourself back and forward…but don’t fall off the shelf!”

“Okay…here goes…” Jackson braced himself for impact.

WOAAAAHHH!” both the boys screamed as Jackson almost toppled over - being saved by the girls books on her shelves from rolling on to the ground. Nothing seemed to work no matter how hard they tried.

“I guess….we’ll just have to wait until that girl comes back. Maybe she can help us get back to where we came from?” Jaebum sighed as he thought about how long you would be gone for.

“I hope she can. I don’t know how much longer I can take being stuffed in here. Come back soon, mysterious girl…” Jackson whined through the transparent film of his box - neither of them knowing what else they could do except to wait until the student came home.

LOL you guys, I got my GOTOON figures of Jaebum and Jackson today and I couldn’t help but do something like this. I can’t open Jacksons until November unfortunately because it’s a present for my mum who thinks the sun shines out of Jackson Wang’s asshole (she’s not wrong tho)

BUT I can play with Jaebummie in the meantime. I feel like I have 2 dream knights watching over me now, hehe ^^

PROMPT; here
COMMENTS; So I enjoyed writing this, I love the prompt and although it took me quite a while to write this, I hope you like it cx
I hope you enjoy it and feel free to request here!
WARNING; fluffiness and custard, with some swearing 

“Holy Shit- Wanda cover me!”

The Maximoff twin wheeled around, looking bewildered as I came flying towards her, hair streaming behind me and face red. Wanda stared at me as I came barrelling into the kitchen, slamming the door of the small apartment behind me and launching myself behind her, dwarfing myself behind her tall willowy frame. She just lifted the hot cup of coffee she had in her hand, and cupped it with her hand, sounding incredibly monotonous as she sipped her hot beverage. “Let me guess-”

“Your brother is hunting me down and I swear he’s going for the kill!” I exclaimed, my voice reaching octaves I didn’t even realise I could go to. 

“-Prank War.” Wanda finished, and we exchanged a look. Her lips were pursed and I had the most distressed expression on my face as her dark eyes pressed into mine, an eyebrow raising as she waited for me to reply. I just stood there, hunched slightly as I attempted to hide from the older twin. I opened and closed my mouth, before waving my arms in front of me expressively, before sighing, then speaking.

Keep reading

How the play Rotterdam has led the way for transgender stories on stage

It was 2008 when Jon Brittain first started working on his play Rotterdam, about a lesbian couple where one half transitions to being a man. He had several friends who were transitioning gender, and was suddenly struck by how few trans stories ever got told.

Flash forward almost a decade, and the situation has – happily – changed, with many more visible transgender narratives and characters on TV and film, from Transparent to Orange is the New Black, The Danish Girl to Boy Meets Girl. Meanwhile, Rotterdam can claim to be leading the way on stage: after starting life in 2015 at the tiny London fringe venue, Theatre 503, it transferred to the West End, where it netted an Olivier award: the first ever for a play with a transgender lead. Rotterdam is now returning to the West End again, following a recent Stateside run off-Broadway.

Look at the rising tide of trans stories, and one striking aspect is the humour found in many of them – they largely aren’t painful melodramas about tragic lives, but smart, funny, bittersweet stories about relatable people. Rotterdam pulls off the same trick in the theatre: it is essentially a rom-com. The central couple, Alice and Fiona – who becomes Adrian – wittily bicker and banter their way around a big romantic obstacle. Alice, who identifies as a lesbian, suddenly finds she’s in a relationship with a man, Adrian, leading her to question: is she now… straight?

“It is a rom-com – but it’s not like one of the couple has got a job in LA, one’s got a job in New York; it’s that one’s got a very clear sense of who they are, which conflicts with the other person’s sense of who they are,” says Brittain. “I thought that provided a really complex and interesting set of hurdles for them to overcome.”

Humour was always going to be key. As the 30-year-old playwright points out, using a familiar comedic framework has two effects: it normalises the characters and their relationship, and it also warms the audience up for the more emotionally fraught moments.

“If you’re laughing you’re more relaxed, and if you’re relaxed you’re more open to other emotions too,” he suggests. “It’s really good to be able to use that vehicle [of the rom-com], which is quite welcoming, to tell a story about characters that you don’t always see on stage. To entertain someone is an excellent way to open them up to new thoughts.”

Anna Martine Freeman, who plays Adrian, agrees. “The humour breaks down the stereotypes and the tropes that often appear in LGBT narratives… no-one dies in this, no-one turns straight, no-one ends up crazy.”

In the time Brittain was writing the play, the visibility of the trans community has radically changed. Did he ever worry about seeming to be jumping on some kind of bandwagon?

“When Rotterdam first came on, it was the summer after Caitlyn Jenner announced her transition, and there was a part of me that worried it would look cynical. Will people think this is something I’d knocked up in a few months to capitalise on it?” he confesses. But now, Brittain is simply happy to be one story in an “eco-system” of different trans narratives gaining attention.

Still, theatre is different to TV and film – there hasn’t quite been the same wave of high-profile stories on our stages as on our screens yet, although more are coming. This week, American playwright Taylor Mac’s drama Hir opens at the Bush Theatre in London, featuring a central trans character, while the National Theatre of Scotland stage two trans dramas based on real experiences during the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, titled Adam and Eve. Very few of our main stages at big cultural institutions, however, have played host to trans stories.

“I know of more plays that have been written [on the subject] than have been put on,” muses Brittain when I ask if theatre is lagging behind other artforms. “I think there’s a lot of stuff on the fringe, there’s a lot of trans performers and theatre makers [out there]. It’s really about the big establishments, how they’re supporting them – I don’t think it’s that the talent isn’t there.”

Their own production could face criticism from the trans community, however: not only is it written by a cisgender straight white man, but the trans character is played by a cisgender actress too. There have been increasingly vocal complaints by trans actors, and activists, about plum parts going to non-trans actors – consider the furore around the Oscar-nominated performances of Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl or Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

Brittain, clearly the first to fret about giving offence, is painfully aware of this issue. “If someone was to say ‘you shouldn’t write this’, it’s not like I have a cast iron argument against it,” he says. “But I thought: if this doesn’t go on, it just means there’s one less play about trans characters. So I think it is a good thing to put out into the world.”

Brittain talked to trans friends while writing, as well as consuming as many first-hand accounts of trans experiences as he could; he also worked with Gendered Intelligence, an arts charity who work with young trans people, in developing the script and getting out the word about auditions when casting the play.

“We tried to see as many trans and non-binary people for the parts as possible,” says Brittain. “We were committed to trying to make that happen, and in the end we weren’t able to. [But] if anyone wants to criticise the show on those grounds, they’ve got a good point. I wouldn’t try to shout down anyone.” He pauses the self-flagellation for a second, laughing “have I equivocated enough?”

“Can you ask that question to other companies about cis roles?” interjects Freeman, pointing out that real equality won’t be achieved for trans actors till they’re able to audition for parts that have nothing to do with being transgender.

While being hyper-alert to potential criticisms the production might face, Freeman and Brittain are cheerily relieved to report they’ve had no kick-back yet.

“I’m super proud about being part of a story that stands really strongly in solidarity with the trans community,” Freeman says. “I’ve been overwhelmed at the response, across the board, with cis and trans people being really moved. For some people, it’s being able to connect to these issues that they might not have in their everyday life. But for some people it’s actually quite close to the bone.”

The emotional reactions the play has sometimes prompted have made them consider a new approach to audience care: having a ‘vibe checker’ hanging out during and after the show. It was an idea Freeman got from an activist friend – someone in the room that people affected by issues within the play can talk to, offering more information or support.

“We are going to be the conservatives’ nightmare of snowflake theatre makers,” laughs Brittain. But Freeman remains unabashed.

“I’m proud of that.”

‘Rotterdam’ is at the Arts Theatre from 21 June to 15 July

im scared of everyone because my sister always jokes that she can read everything on my phone through the wifi which i Know is bullshit but i just feel like nothing is ever truly private or secret and everyones just pretending they haven’t read all my secret things you know,,,,, everyones always laughing to eachother about me