Myrna: Sacrificing Everything to Transition into Oneself
(Update: An extra screening has been added for Saturday, September 26, 1:15pm.)
It’s 2015, a time when we’re shocked by the fact that a profoundly talented actress like Viola Davis can win an award that she should have been given the opportunity to win since the beginning of television itself, but that would mean she and they would have to have been given the same opportunities to showcase their talents, to honor the emotional and monetary investments that were made to perfect this age-old craft that transcends race, gender and their politics.
Best Actor in a TV Series
At that second Jeffrey Tambor won the much deserved award I thought to myself, “What would happen if instead of a man winning an Emmy for playing the role of a woman transitioning into life as who she really is, and everything that comes with that, what if instead of that man winning that Emmy the woman herself would be given the consideration.” For her consideration. Or variations of that.
After the transition
“My career just wasn’t tough enough, so I woke up one morning and decided to change my sex.”
Translation: Mark decided to wake up one morning and do something miraculous, Mark chose to live.
It’s just a name. And there’s so much more to ‘just a name’ isn’t there? There’s so much more to a career as an actress. There’s so much more to the ‘transition.’ There’s so much more to life than labels, gender, our careers, and our singular experiences. But how we define and perceive all of that, makes us who we are.
Myrna is an original dramedy series written by Marlo Bernier & Ted Campbell, Directed by Ted Campbell, and starring Marlo Bernier, Jennifer Fontaine, Paul McKinney, Candis Cayne, Julie Carmen, Mark Atteberry and David Mattey. It’s based on Marlo Bernier’s true to life inspiring story of courage through transition. Myrna tells the story of a woman struggling to find the surface of things. A seasoned actress confronting the reality of a new name, without an IMDB page. About a woman who is reminded that while she just wants her “old” career back, everything has changed. Myrna is about a woman who is being forced to choose between Myrna the trans-actress, and Myrna the actress. A story about transitioning; age, career, heartbreak, the baggage that follows after a storm. And it isn’t just a show about a boy who is a girl, it’s about the human connection. It’s about striving to live life as who you really are.
Marlo Bernier has well over two decades of solid work on both stage and screen. On stage (Mark) Bernier repeatedly delivered award-winning performances in roles such as, Roy Cohn in Angels in America; Parts I and II, the twins John/James in Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Berg in God’s Country. Along with memorable guest roles in COLD CASE, Homicide: Life on the Street, Las Vegas and ALIAS. And on the larger screen in The Last Time We Were… and in Fincher’s ZODIAC.
“I was transsexual, but kept telling myself that it was just a phase. I joined the Air Force, played in bands overseas, did copious amounts of heroin, got married, acted my heart out and yet, always deep down inside there was this knowledge that I wasn’t being true to who I was. I wasn’t happy.
Flash forward to 2007 when I was faced with a choice; transition or die. I chose to live and in so doing I knew it would be impossible to continue to keep secrets and so I pulled on my Big Girl Panties and put it all on the line, publicly, as I transitioned from male-to-female/Mark-to-Marlo.
Yes, I have lost a few friends and family along the way. The calls to audition ceased. I sacrificed much, but in return I gained much more, so much more. And amazingly once I’d stopped hiding from myself, relationships with an overwhelming majority of my family, friends and colleagues only flourished and strengthened and that has certainly never before been more evident than in seeing the quality of artisans who have graciously and enthusiastically attached themselves to Myrna.
It is my/our hope that Myrna will have a far, deep, and wide reach in its appeal. The show’s message is simply to Be Yourself. Though it may take some time to get there, own your presence in the world and effect the change you would like to see – with humor, kindness and love. Because… “Sometimes it takes a long time to be able to play like yourself” (Miles Davis).” – Marlo Bernier
The pilot episode You’re Not Done Yet has it’s world-premier screening at the Hollywood Film Festival, as part of their See Good Television programming on September 23, 2015 at 7pm at Arclight Hollywood on Sunset. Purchase your tickets HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Ceballos y Campbell is an L.Á. born writer, publisher, designer, consultant, community advocate, and cultural wanderer. She curates and hosts literary/arts programming that seeks to build, bridge, and sustain our communities, at Highland Park's Avenue 50 Studio and throughout Los Angeles. She is 1/4 of the experiment in publishing known as Writ Large Press, and she holds a seat with the Highland Park Neighborhood Council where she also heads their Arts & Culture committee. Her work has been (or will be) published by Tia Chucha Press, PEN Center USA/Rattling Wall, Further Other Book Works, CCM:Entropy, Los Angeles Magazine, La Bloga, and Brooklyn n Boyle, Hinchas de Poesia, among others.