Tag Archives: Graeae theatre compnay

US premiere of ‘peeling’ opens in Seattle

I’m delighted that the US premiere of ‘peeling’ has opened with Sound Theatre in Seattle. ‘peeling’ is a play in its seventeenth year (originally commissioned, directed and designed by Jenny Sealey for Graeae Theatre Company in 2002). Suddenly it is finding more productions and viewers than ever before. Earlier this year Taking Flight Theatre Company toured the play around Wales, and it will be remounted for an Autumn tour (details here). This is of course hugely gratifying, but given its themes of war, eugenics, representation and women’s autonomy over their bodies, its relevance in 2019 is regrettable. As one of the Chorus in this meta-theatrical performance laments “Haven’t we been here, before?”

In ‘peeling’ I’ve played with the device of the Chorus in a fictionalised production of ‘The Trojan Women: Then and Now’, which carries on around – and often in spite of – the Deaf and disabled female choral performers. They suspect they’ve been cast just to be ‘the ticked box on an equal opportunities monitoring form’ and long for a time when they will be centre-stage, in an accessible environment giving them the opportunity to perform ‘properly’ – with ‘an all-signing Chorus’, perhaps. Given the descriptions of many of the inclusive productions currently rocking Edinburgh and beyond, this play was (and perhaps remains?) ahead of its time….

Sound Theatre production of ‘peeling’ by Kaite O’Reilly. Photo: Ken Holmes

In an interview with Broadway World, Teresa Thuman, Director of Sound Theatre said:

“Seattle has never seen a play like this before. The very nature of theatre is to expose and make public all that is human — in every form, every ability. For those who live on the margins, theatre is a way to bring them to the center as fully human beings.”

The full interview can be read here. What follows are images and text from the production, which runs until the end of August:

peeling weaves audio description, sign language, and theatrical spectacle into a no-holds-barred play about representation, women, reproduction, war, and eugenics.  

Sound Theatre production of ‘peeling’ by Kaite O’Reilly. Photo: Ken Holmes

With brisk wit and domestic backstage comedy, O’ Reilly’s storytelling style has earned comparisons to Beckett and Caryl Churchill. In anoverproduced, postmodern production of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, Alfa, Coral, and Beatty have been cast in bit parts to fulfill a playhouse’s misplaced diversity program; but as tokens, the trio never experiences true inclusion. Sound Theatre centers disability justice by assembling a production team and cast that brings authentic lived experiences to this groundbreaking production.

Information about the theatre company and the production can be found here

Sound Theatre production of ‘peeling’ by Kaite O’Reilly. Photo: Ken Holmes

ARTISTIC TEAM

Teresa Thuman – Director 

Monique Holt – Assistant Director and Director of Artistic Sign Language

Andrea Kovich – Dramaturg

Parmida Ziaei – Scenic Designer

Taya Pyne – Costume Designer

Adrian Kljucec– Sound Designer

Jared Norman – Projection Designer

Richard Schaefer – Lightning Designer/Technical Director

Robin MaCartney – Props Designer

Zoé Tziotis Shields – Wardrobe Crew, Sound Board Operator

Roland Carette-Meyers – Accessibility Coordinator

Francesca Betancourt – Movement Director

Framing the atypical body.

Last year I was at Tanzkongress in Dusseldorf, giving a paper entitled ‘Border Control: Framing the atypical body.’ It was largely in response to Jerome Bel’s ‘Disabled Theater’, which I had seen at HAU in Berlin in 2012, and which angered me owing to its manipulation and framing of the actors with intellectual impairments who perform in this piece.

As someone who identifies as disabled and as a disability artist, I was frustrated by what I perceived as the lens of ‘normalcy’ through which we were invited to view the atypical body in this, and other so-called experimental or radical pieces. This talk was my response to that.

I am grateful to Rafael Ugarte Chacón for bringing the link to my talk to my attention.

DANCE CONGRESS 2013 IN DÜSSELDORF

‘Border Control: Framing the atypical body. 

“You say radical, I say conservative, you say inclusive, I say subversive …”


Kaite O’Reilly has been working for many years within Deaf arts and disability culture. In this lecture, she examines the possibilities and limits of artistic inclusion in performances, e.g., by Jérôme Bel, as well as her own work. To what extent is dealing with the “atypical body” politically and culturally shaped? How does the concept of normalcy of the majority society relate to a politicised “disability culture” that affirms the multiplicity of human differences?

 http://www.tanzkongress.de/de/programm/kongressprogramm.html?date=2013-06-08#event-76-0