Rights discourse Stables Exp Sept 2017

Eva Sifis

Tuesday’s exploration offered much discourse around rights and realities with a particular focus upon the recent Malthouse offering The Elephant Man together with views offered by the respective reviewers.
The following is largely paraphrasing the articulate Trevor Dunn
The Real and Imagined Life of The Elephant Man posed mixed levels of engagement and enjoyment yet overall it was seen as making a long awaited move towards acceptance of disabled actors on stage; just as women gradually made their way on to the stage in earlier times.
Increment by bleeding increment change is wraught.
Joseph Merrick was the Elephant Man’s name of birth. The fact he was a minor superstar of the time is the only reason we are speaking about him now. There have always been the disabled however they fail to exist in consciousness as they have no voice. Joseph represented disabled people perhaps for the first time ever. He gave them humanity.
The turn of the century was the time of Darwin, Eugenics and Suffragettes so it seems an apt period for the Disabled to rise to the scrim of consciousness.
It is felt the production revived the attitudinal environment of the 19th Century and in this, the agenda carried forth is dangerous in the current light.
When the standing ovations of the audience was brought up, I was surprised to hear the opinion it was largely self-congratulatory.
Looking back in retrospect, I have to say I agree with this. Shocking I know.
Besides this, i have to say the future looks bright for the acknowledgment and celebration of 20% of the population.
A telling quote from the day “I’m not clapping, I’m thinking”
Until the morrow x