Go to Rachael’s Cafe to meet your friends. Go there for a meeting on how to squat in an abandoned building. Go there to hear local music, or just to sit at one of the round tables and talk with Rachael, always friendly and authentically attentive, behind the counter.
I remember when she started the cafe, how stunned I was to meet and speak with this tall, muscled, and beautiful transgendered woman in such a very public venue that she had set up around herself without any kind of fanfare. Nor is Rachael’s Cafe about her. It’s about all of us, our capacity for connection, no matter the circumstances. Rachael is a remarkable human being who invented a way to integrate her own unique self into this remarkable town and welcome everybody in, no exceptions. I respect and admire her hugely, and I am not alone. So yesterday, when I noticed in the Indiana Student Daily that an IU graduate had written a play about Rachael’s life, that this play was now to be featured on the London stage, I rejoiced. Check out the kickstarter fundraiser, to help fly Rachael to London, for the premier.
February 4, 2014
By Anthony Broderick
Rachael’s Cafe is more than just a coffee shop — it’s creative inspiration.
IU alumna Lucy Danser wrote and directed a play based on one of her visits to the shop, which is owned and run by Bloomington native and entrepreneur Rachael Jones.
“Rachael’s Cafe” is a one-woman play that centers upon Jones and her life as a transgendered person.
After showing at U.K. festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Danser is preparing for the play’s upcoming three-week run at London’s Old Red Lion Theatre, which begins Feb. 25.
Danser is raising money on Kickstarter to fly Jones to London for the premiere.
“It is totally unbelievable and amazing that I get the chance to see something that is based upon my life and my life decisions being portrayed in regular human nature,” Jones said.
She said the play’s portrayal of the transgender community puts it in a positive light, where other forms of media put it in a more negative light.
Danser said she chose to write a play about Jones’ life because she was motivated by the way Jones was able to make a name for herself on her own when all the odds were against her.
“The reason the cafe exists, is when she was living as Rachael, she couldn’t find a job anywhere … no one would accept her,” Danser said. “So she took out a loan from a friend and put everything on the line to bring the cafe to life.”
Danser said she thought it was the bravest thing she had seen anyone do.
She said she hopes people who see the play will be inspired and learn how to make something out of their lives based upon Jones’ trailblazing.
The play stars Graham Elwell in the main role as Jones, and is produced by Danser’s family’s company Little Fly Theatre.
“Rachael’s Cafe” received positive reviews from various British publications such as WhatsOnStage, Three Weeks, New Kid at the Fringe and ScotsGay.
Though the play is finding success in the U.K., Danser said she hopes to bring it to Bloomington.
“We are looking to take it to America so we can do it in Rachael’s town where the cafe is,” Danser said. “It would be great for Rachael to see it again.”