I know, an interesting title to choose isn’t it. Its actually a modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III, set in an American high school when they are choosing senior election candidates.
I, Vicky went to see this recently with a good friend and colleague of mine who had seen it advertised via Disability Rights UK (https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/). It was playing (until recently) at the Donmar Warehouse (https://www.donmarwarehouse.com), a theatre just outside Covent Garden. I think the description of the play on their website as ‘darkly comic’ is pretty accurate – the play was really funny in parts (although I think I missed some of the less common Shakespeare references), but also quite disturbing in others and definitely dark! The acting was truly superb, with Daniel Monks certainly portraying a dark and disturbed Richard to the full. In the play, Richard has hemiplegia, as does Daniel himself and the play explores how people perceive and behave towards Richard (and how Richard thinks they perceive him) maybe as a result of this.
Although the play was 1 hour and 45 minutes without a break, the time flew by, all credit to the intensity of the acting.
Prior to the performance we were lucky enough to have a touch tour organised in conjunction with VocalEyes (https://vocaleyes.co.uk/) a charity providing audio description to ensure plays are accessible for people with vision impairments (my friend has a vision impairment). We were able to wander around the set, getting a sense of the location of different items and also feel some of the costumes that the characters would later be wearing.
On this occasion the touch tour also included an opportunity to meet some of the main characters, who gave an introduction as to who they were, described their physical characteristics and also spoke in the accents they would use in the play so people could associate those voices with the characters when they came on stage. My friend and I chatted for a while to Ruth Madeley who plays Bucks in the show. Bucks is in a wheelchair as is Ruth herself. I recognised her from her role in the TV show ‘Years and Years’ and also ‘The Accident’. It was lovely to meet her and also hear about future projects she is involved in. She told us that when they were looking for actors for this play, the playwright had specified that hers and Richard’s parts must be played by disabled actors stating ‘They are out there, you just have to find them.’
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.