Disability is as much a reality as race – it doesn’t exist. Really. People treat it as a scary, otherworldly spectre when it is just a spectrum, a single line upon which all of us stand. We are located at different points along that one line, that’s all. What is real, though, for some of us, is claiming an identity as a disabled person. And this makes the some of us radicals and oddities in the eyes of the many. Yet, for the many, claiming a racial identity is perfectly normal and natural. Why? This play tries to answer that, among other questions.
Does it succeed?
I won’t reply on your behalf because that is for you, the non-disabled audience, to say.
Also, I’m biased when it comes to experiencing “And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore ‘d’ Monologues”. I do not inhabit the bodies and cannot understand the life of any one person with a specific disability (other than my own). But as a disabled person who says I’m disabled and so what and it’s ok and no thank you I don’t need a cure nor pity – which is not as common a thing as you might think – I approached the play a bit differently; I already possess that visceral understanding of disability which comes from lived experiences.
And what made this play different? There were audio description (aka AD and the first I’ve come across in Singapore theatre), captions (even for the AD!), sign languages made visually and aurally visible. And oh, the disabled actors up there, on stage, playing roles, acting for real – in more than one sense of the word. And no miracles occurred at the end when they took their bow – the deaf remained deaf, the blind still couldn’t see, the wheelchairs weren’t a prop after all, and the slope-shouldered short-haired one didn’t morphed into a tall, blonde lass.
And all was right with their worlds.
p/s: The play ended its run today.