As One
Composer: Laura Kaminsky
Librettist: Mark Campbell
Premiere Date: September 04, 2014

As One tells the story and struggle of the transgender protagonist, Hannah, as she tries to reconcile the discord between herself and the outside world. As One traces Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to Norway where she is surprised at what she learns about herself.

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Character List (Major): Hannah Before (Bar)
Hannah After (Mezzo) 
Comments: Detailed Scene Breakdown
Told from the perspective of 'Hannah Before' and 'Hannah After' (a baritone and mezzo soprano, respectively, representing the transgender Hannah both pre and post-operation) in the form of 15 songs which stretch from childhood to adolescence to early adulthood. 

1. Hannah describes her paper route, which she diligently completes every day just like 'every good boy,' although unlike other boys, she sometimes wears a blouse underneath her jacket, because it 'all just feels so right.'

2. During a cursive lesson, Hannah struggles to write in a 'controlled, constrained, constricted' way, eschewing the 'generous loops' and 'graceful swirls' that are hallmarks of feminine cursive.

3. Hannah's class is divided by gender and directed to separate rooms for sexual education class. While learning about what to expect for male puberty, Hannah longs to be in the other rooms, with the girls.

4. Hannah dissents with her classmates while reading John Donne's 'No Man is an Island,' proclaiming that "I see no other life than one apart. Alone"

5. Hannah describes the grueling regimen that she performs on a daily basis to be the 'perfect boy.' This includes excelling  in contact sports and receiving honor roll.

6. For the first time ever, Hannah sees a transgender woman on television. Running to the library, she flips through the card catalog and sees, for the first time, 'Transsexual' printed in ink. She then spends many countless hours in the library reading about her condition.

Part II

7. Hannah describes the two cities she lives in, one where she presents as male and the other where she presents as herself, a woman.

8. Hannah is overcome with emotion when a passing man says to her "Pardon me, Miss." It is the first time another person has perceived her as she truly is.

9. Hannah starts hormone therapy, and struggles with the emotional side effects, while remaining optimistic that the pills will finally have their physical effects

10. Hannah writes a letter to her parents apologizing for her inability to travel home for the Christmas Holidays

11. Hannah describes a felicitous encounter she has in a cafe with a young man, whom she flirts with. Although she knows that this will not likely result in a relationship, she appreciates the human connection.

12. Hannah reads a letter from her father, addressed to her as 'Son,' where he wants to make sure that Hannah is happy, as she (or he, as her father believes) sounded quiet in her last letter. 

13. Hannah is accosted and attacked by a man who suspects her of being transgender. She manages to escape in her car unscathed. (While Hannah 'after' describes these events, Hannah 'before' reads of list of transgender people who were recently murdered)

14. The voices in Hannah's head torment her, insisting that she will never be able to go on with life. She perseveres and goes on to Norway

15. In Norway, staying at a friend's cabin, Hannah initially struggles with nature, first making jam from berries that turn out to be inedible and then taking out a boat on the pond and discovering it has a leak. She then realizes that the past four days in Norway have been spend as herself, with no one there to judge her or draw conclusions about. She happily sends postcards home, signed in her new name, using the handwriting that her cursive teachers so many years ago forbade her from using. She returns back home, not as a boy or a girl, but as both. As One.


1542.jpg is a photo of As One
Length: 01:15
Total Acts: Not Available
Contact: Bill Holab
Address: Bill Holab Music
Composer Web Site:
Librettist Web Site:
Schedule of Performances Listings
As One (Kaminsky)
Thursday, September 4, 2014 - American Opera Projects
As One (Kaminsky)
- American Opera Theater
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