Sunday, September 16, 2007

Removable Parts - The Experience

I posted about a week ago on the show Removable Parts showing in NY City - about BIID and voluntary amputation. A musical. Wheelchair Dancer was able to get to the show and wrote about it , as well as a panel she and her friends attended afterwards.

What's so interesting about her observations and experiences is that the response to the disability issues involved seemed to be no more aware than those writing the Monty Python scene herein pictured where a knight lops off his limbs for comic effect.

She writes:

"The panel admitted that including disability in the title of the panel was a "mistake." No one, not the people on stage, not the staff of Here Theater, not the audience wanted to get to grips with a possible connection between the disability community and the voluntary amputation community: we were told that disability was not relevant."

And, although I suppose that is one approach toward including disability subjects in your work (of art), people need to realize that doing that will elicit a reaction from those of us with disabilities. Because you can't deal with a subject like amputation without bringing up the subject of disability and how it's presented. And you're going to have reactions, especially when you put your work on a NY stage. Stage it in your own garage? Well, maybe you could pretend it was your own little private show that doesn't merit scrutiny. Put on a play at a summer camp? That's understandably not going to receive as much feedback. But in New York? Difficult to believe that folks would feign surprise, especially when they put 'disability' in the panel, that there won't be a reaction.

Sometimes the disability community's reaction is an amused or bemused one or outright laughter when disability is handled awkwardly , yet does no harm. At other times, it can be quite a serious thing, because treating the subject of disability with as much thought as slapstick comedy -well, it's just not funny.

Click above to read Wheelchair Dancer's post.

And I still haven't given up on my dream of writing a Broadway play about disability. In fact, I'm working on a song right now.

visual description: [A knight dressed in black with his left arm cut off stands with his sword to the ground held in his right hand in front of a white knight.]


Wheelchair Dancer said...

Thanks, Ruth. I wasn't able to get distance on this, but your comments hit the mark precisely.

I'll come see your play.



Ruth said...

Aww, thanks. But, uh, I may need a dancer....