Seven ten-minute one act plays about people with disabilities are being presented by Theater Breaking Through Barriers, formerly Theater by the Blind at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row through June 30th. It’s an eye opening experience.
Don’t look at the limp, at the hand that’s missing. At the legs that don’t work. At the wheelchair or the retractable cane. Look at the actors – some able-bodied and some with missing parts – as actors. Don’t be blindsided by what some might call defects. They are not handicapped. They are actors first and foremost. They want us to get past what we see.
With spunk, determination, resilience and humor there is no room for self pity only talent as they take you on a fast, heartfelt and sometimes very funny journey seeing life through their eyes.
It is extremely ironic that upstairs at The Acorn Theatre – ONE ARM – the Tennessee Williams play dealing with an ex-boxer turned hustler with one arm has hired Claybourne Elder a beautiful specimen of a man with two arms one of which is strapped to his side for the role. Director Moises Kaufman should make a visit to “Some of Our Parts” which might enlighten him, making him think twice about casting the part with someone with one arm for future productions.
In CASTING CALL by Kate Moira Ryan which links all the other plays together while the set is quickly changed “Ike Schambelan” (TBTB’s Artistic Director) tries in vain to convince casting agents to cast disabled actors in such plays as The Miracle Worker, Butterflies Are Free, Children of a Lesser God and 33 Variations – another M. Kaufman show.
Each one act play is concise. There is plenty of dark humor. Some black out lines are more effective than others. The acting is excellent by the cast of sixteen. Playwrights include: Bekah Brunstetter GORGEOUS, Samuel D. Hunter WELCOME TO WALMART, Diana Son BLIND DATE, Jeff Tabnick THE BIG PAYBACK, Emily Chadick Weiss GOOD DANCER and Neil LaBute CRIPPLES – where three old geezers discuss making it with disabled women that has a hysterical description of sex with a woman with no legs that you won’t soon forget.
The program cover features artwork by cartoonist John Callahan who was a quadriplegic alcoholic and had the darkest and most wicked sense of humor in depicting disabled persons in the funniest of situations. Hardly politically correct.
“Some of Our Parts” carries on this tradition mightily. It will make you think twice before saying something really dumb to someone less fortunate than you. Hopefully casting directors will see this show and cast some of the many fine actors in a role that they are so well suited to play.
The ensemble: Mary Theresa Archbold, Melanie Boland, Tiffan Borelli, Shannon DeVido, Alden Fulcomer, David Harrell, Marcie Henderson, Anita Hollander, Kenneth Kimmins, John Little, J.M. McDonough, Gregg Mozgala, Melanie Nichols-King, Pamela Sabaugh, Ike Schambelan and Nicholas Viselli.
www.tbtb.org TICKETS $19.25 212 239-6200 Photo: Carol Rosegg
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