The past five months, I’ve been in Berlin researching a new book. Much of my time is spent learning about difficult things, such as how disabled people were killed under the Nazi Aktion T4 program. But much of my time is also spent partaking in the extraordinary cultural riches of Berlin.
The past few years, I’ve developed an interest in theater troupes comprised of disabled performers. For my birthday this year I was given a very large book about Theater Hora, a Zurich-based theater company that’s been around for twenty years. In Frankfurt, I was able to meet with Michael Elber, the director of Theater Hora, as well as some the Hora actors. I was also able to see “Mars Attacks,” their collaboration with Das Helmi, a Berlin-based political puppet theater.
In Berlin, I’ve met with Marcel Bugiel, the dramaturge for “Disabled Theater,” Hora’s collaboration with choreographer Jerome Bel. The production has traveled around the world and has become perhaps the most talked about, and widely seen, performance of a disability-based theater. Marcel sent me this very interesting article at Dis magazine about “Disabled Theater,” written after it was performed in NYC (one of the cast members was nominated for a Bessie Award). I think the article brings up many important issues about disabled performers on stage, so I thought I’d share it here.
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