This article contains mention of suicide which may be triggering for some readers.

BLUE NOW Travis Alabanza reflects on moments of courage

Animation by Jenny Mascia
WordsTravis Alabanza

“BLUE NOW” is a series of live performances and six pieces of writing inspired by quotes from “Blue,” British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman’s seminal 1993 film, created as he was dying from AIDS-related illnesses.

Here, performance artist, writer and theater maker Travis Alabanza spins the Jarman quote above into a piece that reflects on the moments of courage that make life possible.

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“Blue an open door to soul/An infinite possibility/Becoming tangible…”
Derek Jarman

I don’t know what it takes to make art in the face of death. To see the blue becoming darker, the grayscales washing over any sunset that used to stand. How to leave something permanent with such temporary fingers. Making something immovable with a mind that is about to leave you. I do not know what it takes.

I do know about the choice on the ledge. That one we all have stood on. Maybe I did not see you there, but I know we have both been on the ledge. Where you turn your neck to see what is behind you, and you see the hands grabbing at you—pulling you to stop—and in front of you is the sky, blue in all its possibilities, never-ending in a potential—and in the middle is you.

On the ledge.

Knowing that the free fall is scary.

That the free fall takes risk.

That the hands pulling you back can feel like a hug if they squeeze hard enough.

And you do not know if you have what it takes to jump through the sky.

Surely defeat in disguise as rest would feel so good.

But you do jump.

You do not know why,

Maybe it is something like courage.

The same thing that makes you kiss the guy you like. Or leave home with just your bag. Or tell that bouncer not to touch your friend. Or to quit that job and try to write. Or to put on that skirt. Or to shout “you can’t fucking call me that”. Or to square up to someone twice your height. Or to love as many people as you can in one summer. Or to share that secret. Or to come out again and again and again and again.

Maybe it’s something like courage.

That makes you free fall through the sky.

That makes us all jump off that ledge.

And to feel so alive.

Travis Alabanza

Travis Alabanza is a writer, performer and theatre-maker from Bristol whose writing, performance and public discourse centres on trans and Black identities. Travis has written, toured and performed in numerous highly-regarded shows and is currently developing projects for screen. Their debut book, “None of the Above: Reflections on Life Beyond the Binary” was published in 2022 by Canongate.

Each year, WePresent invites a creative to be its Guest Curator. In 2023 we are very proud to collaborate with brilliant actor and podcaster Russell Tovey on a handful of very special art-related projects on themes close to his heart. "BLUE NOW" is the first in this series.

The animation on this page was directed and illustrated by Jenny Mascia, and 3D animated by Alice Aires.

Blue (Derek Jarman, 1993) © Basilisk Communications Ltd., enquiries regarding Blue by Derek Jarman should be addressed to