Neither Victim or Villain: Presenting difference and disability with a renewed perspective
And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues:
Visually stimulating, multilingual performance about difference and diversity from opposite sides of the world premieres on UK stage
05-06 September: Purcell Room Southbank Centre, London 7:45pm (www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/unlimited
08 September: Old Fire Station, Oxford 7:30p (www.oldfirestation.org.uk/whats-on)
09 September: Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester 7pm (www2.le.ac.uk/hosted/attenborougharts/whatson)
11-12 September: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff 8pm (www.chapter.org)
A new production by award-winning playwright Kaite O’Reilly will have its UK premierefollowing its triumphant world premiere at the National Museum of Singapore Gallery Theatre (May 2018). And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues will be performed 5-6 September 2018 at the Unlimited Festival, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre (London: 7:45pm), with additional performances at The Old Fire Station (Oxford: 8 September, 7:30pm), Attenborough Centre (Leicester: 9 September, 7pm), and Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff: 11-12 September, 8pm).
Selected for the Unlimited International Commissions for 2017/18, And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologuesis an international theatrical dialogue of difference, disability, and what it is to be human, from opposite sides of the world. Kaite was compelled to write these monologues as an alternative to the clichéd, often problematic representation of Deaf and disabled characters on stage and screen. With her Unlimited international commission and talented cast of Deaf and disabled performers, And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues seek to challenge prevailing negative or 'inspirational' images of disability with punch, poignancy, and a sly wit.
This work is innovative in its form, multilingual and intercultural in its nature, mingling spoken, projected and visual languages - interweaving English with some Mandarin, Welsh and British Sign Language sequences. The company consists of pioneering artists exploring new theatre languages and form, with the aesthetics of access – audio description, captioning, sign language – at the very heart of the work. Poignant, provocative, with passion and sly wit, stories of difference are told live and via video in unexpected ways, reveling in all the possibilities of human variety.
The show isn’t about access, it’s about the innovative use of theatre languages - mixing visual and spoken storytelling in dynamic form. There’s no static sign language interpreter in the corner of the stage, but live and pre-recorded sequences that tell little-known stories physically and visually in multiple languages, with creative captioning throughout.
Inspired by previously unrecorded lived experience in the UK and Singapore, this production sets an important precedent: the first multilingual, intercultural theatre project created between the UK and Singapore - led, created, written, directed and performed by Deaf and disabled artists.
Kaite began her explorations of the monologue form in 2008, on a Creative Wales Award, courtesy of Arts Council Wales. As part of the development, she had interactions with world class exponents of the form, including Eve Ensler, who immediately gave her ‘vagina envy’ with her monologues and V Day. Kaite has always loved the notion of disabled and D/deaf performers all over the world presenting with pride and political urgency texts which did not reduce them to parodies, metaphors, villains, or inspiration porn stars. Perhaps now, with the presentation of ‘And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues’and the publication of these texts by Oberon, steps are being taken towards a ‘d’ day, celebrating difference, diversity, disability, and other delicious ‘d’s….
Award-winning playwright Kaite O’Reillyand internationally respected director Phillip Zarrillilead the team. The cast includes Singaporean collaborators Peter Sau and Grace Khoo, veteran disability arts practitioner Sara Beer (UK), Deaf UK-based Singaporean Visual Director Ramesh Meyyappan,performer Garry Robson(UK), a leading figure in disability arts and introducing Macsen McKay (UK). The performance aesthetic makes extensive use of pre-recorded video, featuring Sophie Stone(UK) in visual and spoken languages.
Kaite O’Reilly, Lead Artist, Playwright:
“I feel immensely privileged to lead this important exchange and theatrical dialogue between our two small nations: Wales and Singapore. Telling atypical stories about atypical people, this project sets an important precedent as the first piece of disability art to be made in Singapore, then touring to the UK. It celebrates what it is to be human - in all its diverse possibilities.
Jo Verrent, Senior Producer (Unlimited):
“Kaite O’Reilly’s 'And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore 'd'Monologues’ is exactly the kind of work Unlimited exists to support - high quality, provocative, challenging - and not just in relation to the disabled artists involved, or the innovative access elements planned to enable a greater number of disabled audience members to benefit. The biggest impact is the change in theatrical form that occurs when you truly embed disability-led creativity in the heart of the work, and that benefits us all.”
For more information please contact Rachel Kinchin firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07769 290369 or Kaite O’Reillykaitekor@aol.com/ 07775944345
And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore ‘d’ Monologuesis commissioned and supported by Unlimited, with funding from Arts Council of Wales and British Council.
About Kaite O’Reilly
Kaite O’Reilly is a leading figure in disability arts and culture in the UK. She recently was awarded Culture Woman of the Year in Wales for her work in diversity and disability arts in Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire18. As a playwright, radio dramatist, writer and dramaturg, she has won many awards for her work, including the Peggy Ramsay Award for YARD (The Bush, London), Manchester Theatre Awards best play of the year for Perfect (Contact Theatre), Theatre-Wales Award for peeling (Graeae Theatre company) and the Ted Hughes Award for new works in Poetry for her reworking of Aeschylus’s Persians for National Theatre Wales in their inaugural year. She received two Cultural Olympiad Commissions for In Water I’m Weightless, produced by National Theatre Wales and Southbank Centre as part of the official festival celebrating the 2012 London Olympics/Paralympics, an Unlimited commission.
She is the patron of Disability Arts Cymru, and DaDa (Disability arts Deaf arts). Dramaturg for The Llanarth Group, she co-creates work internationally with renowned theatre director Phillip Zarrilli.
Unlimitedis an arts commissioning programme that aims to embed work by disabled artists within the UK and international cultural sectors, reach new audiences and shift perceptions of disabled people. Unlimited has been delivered by the disability-led arts organisation Shape Arts and arts-producing organization Artsadmin since 2013, and is funded from 2016-20 by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, British Council and Spirit of 2012. Since 2013 Unlimited has awarded over £1.8 million to ambitious disabled artists working in theatre, visual arts, literature and music. These artworks resulted in 2,323 performance and exhibition days, which were seen by 132,059 people.
QUOTES / ENDORESEMENTS:
“Kaite O’Reilly is a writer to cherish.” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian.
“…high quality, provocative, challenging.” Jo Verrent, Senior Producer, UNLIMITED.
“a call for the redefinition of disability and how it is viewed in society… Just like water, And Suddenly I Disappearis renewal; its representations are fluid and its diversity is refreshing. And just as in water, it promises to make more waves.” Centre 42, Singapore (review of Singapore premiere).
“Sara Beer is really funny. I mean, very, very funny…” Disability Arts Online(March 2018)
“O’Reilly passionately believes in the need to stage issues of disability in mainstream theatre. Her award-winning work…stands testimony to this passion.” British Theatre Guide
UK PRODUCTION INFORMATION:
And Suddenly I Disappear is produced in the UK by The Llanarth Group. For production information contact:
Executive Producer: Kaite O’Reilly’s And Suddenly I Disappear
Artistic Director, The Llanarth Group
Tyn y parc
Llanarth SA47 0PB
01545 580376; 07557 416831