In October 2016, I was approached by Robin Surgeoner (AKA Angryfish) who is a Writer, Performer, Workshop Leader, Qualified Trainer and Disabled Artist. He was developing a special performance of his one man play “All The Things We Could Have Been“.
At first I didn’t really know what to expect and only knew that Robin had selected artists with various impairments to help come up with ideas on a way to present and enhance his one man show. There were six weekly meeting/ training sessions booked at the Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton and on the last session there would be a full rehearsal before a live presentation of the show on 14 December 2016.
Due to work commitments I only managed to attend the first and last couple of sessions. I found these very useful to developing self-confidence in respect of performance skills. I had never stood up on a raised stage and read, therefore, this was definitely an important self-development skill for me. I met some wonderful, friendly and skillful artists and I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of all performers.
The end result was extraordinary with much appreciation from our audience. ‘All The Things We Could Have Been’ was jam packed with music, songs, comedy, poetry, storytelling, humour, tears etc. All performers were slotted in perfectly into Robin’s original one man script.
I performed, dressed as ‘Wobbly Wonder Woman!’ As well as being nerve-wracking, it was great fun and we all told stories which fitted like a jigsaw, showcasing a full and honest picture of disability in the world we live in. I hope we can do this performance again at other venues and show more people what the effect of disability is in our society
I read a short snippet from my novel and a couple of poems which touched many in the audience. Here are a couple paragraphs from my piece:
“My mother, was only sixteen years old and was unaware of what to expect and do during and after childbirth. She had to accept everyone else’s word for it. There was so much sorrow and distress on the day I had been born. The shock and negativity in the eyes of the villagers gave my mother no enthusiasm to look after her alien like child.
As the news spread around the village, relatives came to witness the strange baby, cursing me, saying all kinds of terrible things about me and my mother: ‘Oh my Goodness, what has she given birth to? That new bride from the Punjab has not brought the family any luck, has she? What kind of kismet has she come with to this household? That child is not a child, but a burden and unnecessary weight to the family. Our poor son will have to live with such a woman who produces such alien like children.’ My mother had hoped to be happy in her marriage; this child had brought nothing but guilt, sadness and depression upon her…”