ASL show coming to Carlson Theatre

By Elizabeth Ballinger

Celebrating October’s recent legal declaration as “Disability History Month,” BCC will be hosting “Not Just Ramps” at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., October 23, in the Carlson Theatre. The two-person show is a collection of vignettes about people with a range of visible and non-visible disabilities, their points of view, and their interactions with non-disabled people.

Carrie Gibson and Anthony Curry’s performance will be interpreted in ASL by the Disability Resource Center’s Dimitri Azadi and will be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session facilitated by the actors.

“Ramps” was developed following a discussion with a girl who had cerebral palsy at one of Curry and Gibson’s other stereotype-melting performances.

The purpose, according to Gibson, is to show the audience through the actor’s representation truths regarding disabilities. “We wanted to try to imagine their feelings in a way that would inspire the audience to do the same.”

The actors interviewed people with various disabilities, including Lou Gehrig’s disease, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, dyslexia, and mental illness. Following the interviews, a test-run performance in front of the people interviewed refined the performances realism, accuracy, and sensitivity.

“We don’t pretend to have any pat answers or rules for proper behavior because there aren’t any,” Curry said. “Everyone deserves dignity and respect.”

“These performances draw attention to assumptions made about disabilities,” said Susan Gjolmesli, Director of the Disability Resource Center at BCC.

After seeing “Not Just Ramps” performed, Gjolmesli decided to bring the play to BCC. “It’s ironic, even humorous, portraying next to the disabled, those who can see, but aren’t observant; those who can hear, but don’t listen.”

During the post-performance discussion, the audience will be asked to consider their own perceptions and attitudes about disability, including the significance they place on the disability itself over the disabled person.

“People tend to view disabled people in terms of constraints,” said Tom Pritchard, Dean of Student Services. “When they apply for jobs or projects, they are asked