Abstract: Theater historian Kirsty Johnston defines disability theater as a part of the disability arts and culture movement, in which disabled artists fight against stereotypes and disability metaphors by creating “new ways to put disability on stage.” Johnston writes of the “mutual revitalizing power found in the encounter between modern drama and disability artists.” In this talk I argue that the same can be said for Shakespeare. Some questions that have animated my own recent research and writing are: How have Deaf and disabled actors created new ways to put Shakespeare on stage? How can Shakespeare productions challenge stereotypes of disability, even as some plays have been vehicles for their perpetuation? What might it mean to make Shakespearean disability theater? After describing some of the obstacles to access for Deaf and disabled Shakespearean actors, I will consider three possibilities for inclusion: playing roles that are textually marked as disabled; playing non-disabled roles in mainstream productions; and adapting Shakespeare so as to bring both disabled actors and disability awareness to the center of the theater-making process. To explore these possibilities I will focus on recent performances of Richard III by disabled actors, the work of Deaf actor Howie Seago with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Storme Toolis’s Redefining Juliet, and Dario d'Ambrosi's Follies in Titus.
The event will be held in Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive. As usual, social hour will be from 5-6, dinner 6-7, and the talk 7-8:30. Please reply to the Evite. The cost for dinner, payable by check only,is $30. When you RSVP please indicate whether or not you plan to come to dinner (by Wednesday December 4)
The event will be held in Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive. As usual, social hour will be from 5-6, dinner 6-7, and the talk 7-8:30. The cost for dinner, payable by check only, is $30. When you RSVP please indicate whether or not you plan to come to dinner; please give 10 days advance notice.