The point is that this is life. This is love, and sex, and parenthood. These are relationships and this is communication, stilted and awkward as those two both can be. This is taking time to listen, and going slowly. These are four people circumnavigating disability. Two lovers, both with cerebral palsy, and the pregnant mother and father of a son with cerebral palsy, trying to find a way to give him a voice through their work in theatre.
A Different Normal
Dan Watson and Christina Serra, together with Tony Diamanti and Liz MacDougall (along with their Director/Co-Writer Karin Randoja) create a play which invites the audience into the lives of four individuals. Developed in Residency at The Theatre Centre, and based on a play written by Tony, This is the Point, brings the audience into Dan and Christina’s home during their family breakfast routine. It brings the audience into the room with Tony, as he shares intimate details of his first, non-consensual, sexual experience. It shows Tony and his partner Liz, and their zest for life and penchant for sexual experiences. The play reminds us that these relationships, touched by cerebral palsy, are normal, in their own way.
Dan and Christina realised that their usual physical approach to creating a play didn’t work for Tony’s needs. In accommodating them, they realised it was the same with having a child with a disability, ‘you just have to make it work.’ And they do. When there is a glitch with technology, they have to stop and fix it on stage, it can’t be improvised into something else because this is how Tony communicates.
A whole new way of communicating
Tony uses a wooden alphabet board which he points to the letters he wants with a pointer attached to his head. The audience must take the time to listen. They have to accept that they are on a journey with the characters on stage, it’s not about where they are going, but how they navigate through life and relationships to get there.
This is the Point brings the audience in with Tony on stage by himself. His letter board, projected onto a screen behind him, compels the audience to follow along. It takes practice and understanding to communicate differently. The audience is forced to focus wholly on Tony and what he is trying to say. He can’t continue until he knows they have. During early showings of the work, some audience members read out loud, helping others who were struggling to follow.
This is the Point will be performed at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen St. West) from November 4–20. Parents of children with disabilities will find moments that resonate as well as insight into an adults’ perspective of navigating relationships while also living with a disability. It is not to be missed. Tickets can be purchased online at http://theatrecentre.org/?p=8746 or by phone at 416–538–0988.
This one is for the adults though, as there are references to sex and violence. Leave the kids at home and bring them along to Dan and Christina’s next project, What Dream it Was, an all-ages experience.