This thought provoking show offers a refreshing perceptive on being different, living with a disability and what exactly it means to be human.
Through a series of monologues, Kaite O’Reilly’s And Suddenly I Disappear examines just what it means to be different from everyone else or to live with a disability – bringing together people from different backgrounds to highlight how our differences should be celebrated.
Over an hour and a half, six performers convey the way in which people are made to feel about their disabilities in society – whether it is getting sympathy that perhaps they don’t want, simply looked through or worst of all being tormented instead of being treated like the human beings they are.
Throughout each monologue, Kaite O’Reilly offers a sharp perceptive covering all manner of disabilities or ways in which that people are made out to be ‘different’. Each piece is different in style – from razor sharp wit about what it actually means to be disabled, a gentle sense of humour to put the point that in fact those who have a disability are still human and capable of doing a number of things for themselves to a sense of acceptance that they are who they are and just want to be treated equally.
There are so many lines that just resonate and create a forceful impact, getting the audience to really think about their own attitude towards disability and those who are considered to be ‘outcasts’ in society. Given the length of the show, there is certainly plenty of material to reinforce the message about attitudes and the problems that still exist in society – it is powerful but it does tend to become slightly too repetitive at times, needing a bit of tightening up to make it sharper.
Director Phillip Zarrilli has created a show that highlights the issues discussed throughout well – not sympathetically but in a matter of fact way that makes the audience sit up and pay attention. He is helped in this by a wonderful set of performances from the cast, all of whom are engaging, warm and with a great sense of humour. Zarrilli effectively uses the humour to highlight just how ridiculous the way in which those with a disability are still treated today to make a strong point about equality.
This is not an overly negative production as a whole however. The whole show is filled with messages of hope and determination that not only things should change but they will – we just all need to work together to make sure this change comes soon. One monologue that particularly highlights this is ‘Boy Soldier’ – it shows the determination to carry on no matter what life throws at you and is a particularly inspiring moment that offers hope.
Overall, And Suddenly I Disappear is a sharply written and performed piece of theatre that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.
By Emma Clarendon