Bringing disability to the heart of theatre

By  | 

THE role of the Auditor is usually dropped from productions of Samuel Beckett’s “Not I”. The Irish playwright never found a way of making this silent, gesticulating character work alongside the monologue of the disembodied Mouth, suspended in the darkness eight feet above the stage. 

But by having a British Sign Language performer (BSL) in the shadowy role, a radical new staging of the play at the Battersea Arts Centre in London might just have cracked it. Jess Thom, a writer and actor who has Tourette’s syndrome and experiences thousands of involuntary motor and vocal tics each day, has chosen to perform “Not I” partly out of a desire to “claim Mouth as a disabled character”. Frustrated by the limited range of theatre accessible to disabled artists and audiences, Ms Thom set about opening up Beckett’s text. 

She and her director Matthew Pountney and BSL director Deepa Shastri worked with Charmaine Wombwell, a BSL performer, on a new BSL translation of “Not I”. It must walk a fine line between…Continue reading

Powered by WPeMatico