Disability in performance has a long history, starting with fictional characters such as Shakespeare's Gloucester/Richard, progressing through the freak shows of the early twentieth century, and finally with artists such as Neil Marcus, Mat Fraser and Deaf West Theatre in the past twenty years. Looking to the work of disabled artists, activists, and theorists such as Petra Kuppers and Carrie Sandahl, I will examine the history of both disability in performance and the performance of disability. I will discuss my performance of Garret, a man with muscular dystrophy, in my original play, The Sick Parents Club. Through analysis of what playing a disability means both emotionally and physically, I will seek to answer the questions: How can an actor play a disabled character without defining them by their disability? Is it possible for a normative-bodied actor to approach authenticity playing a character with a disability?
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Theatre; Acting Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Romano, Daniel, "Playing Disability" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 124.