New York, Mar 18 (EFE).- The first thing heard in the play “Dark Disabled Stories” at The Public Theater in New York is the voice of Alejandra Ospina: this New Yorker from a Colombian family is in charge of making the description of the scenario so that people who have some type of visual disability do not miss a single detail.
Ospina describes all the elements that surround and are on the stage, a stage that, according to what he says in the play, is not simply “very, very pink” but is painted a shade of pink that is called “the rosy sunset of the island of Benjamin Moore”.
Ospina, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, in this work he goes a step further in his descriptions and includes extra nuances, such as that the setting could be a bus, a subway or a bar with a gay atmosphere.
“That’s not my doing, but rather a collaboration (with the play’s author, Ryan J. Haddad) to encourage other ways of thinking about the environment on stage. And that’s why we add more details that way,” the “auditory guide” explains to EFE.
Haddad, the main figure in this piece, also has cerebral palsy, but he gets around with a walker.
FIRST OF ALL, DO NOT GIVE PAIN
Before telling some of the stories that have happened to him in his daily life as a disabled person, Haddad stresses that the aim of his work is not to give pity and that he is not a victim.
“Is it clear?”, he asks the public several times and even invites anyone who expected something different to leave the room.
“The purpose of the play is to illuminate the concept that people with disabilities are people who live very normal lives and want what anyone else wants, including sexual experiences, normal experiences, like being able to walk across town on the subway without have problems, without someone harassing them”, notes Ospina.
In the play, Haddad recounts various stories that have happened to him, ranging from shocking Grinder quotes to surreal scenes seen on New York public transportation.
Despite the fact that the stories are not particularly happy, Haddad’s performance makes the room go from amazement to laughter in more than one moment.
“That is due to Ryan, he is a humorist in everything he does, in what he writes and in all his creations,” says Ospina.
LOCKED IN THE SUBWAY
Although most of the play revolves around various monologues by Haddad, they also take the stage to recount their experiences as a deaf person, Dickie Hearts -who is also in charge of interpreting the play with sign language- and Ospina herself.
“Ryan and I live with cerebral palsy. But Ryan walks with his walker and I’ve never walked, I’ve always used a wheelchair. And that is an experience that Ryan has not had”, explains Ospina.
Haddad recounts that when the subway elevators are not working and he does not see anyone who can help him up the stairs, he sometimes decides to leave his walker next to the first steps of the stairs and climb holding the handrail in the hope that some Good Samaritan put up the walker. After her testimony, Ospina goes on stage to tell her version of what she does when the same thing happens to her.
“I can’t do that in my big power wheelchair that weighs 300 pounds (about 136 kilos).” That often makes her feel “locked” in the subway, and for this reason she considered it important to include her own story in the work.
Due to the success it is having, the functions have been extended until April 2.