Easy Access: An ADA StorySlam recap
Hosted at the Skylight Music Theatre, a packed house enjoyed complimentary Storytelling Consultations, and tales from individuals who are often left feeling as if they are hiding in plain sight or just blatantly overlooked by society.
Emcee Deserae Contantineau warmly welcomed the crowd, ensuring them that the evening would leave a lasting impression in their minds and hearts. The evening kicked off with the elusive Terkel (interview) format, courtesy of John Krall & Megan McGee. John, who is visually impaired, shared how his faith helps him maintain a positive attitude; even when someone is being rude. Steve Wolski is nonverbal and his story, voiced by Joel Dresang, of falling into the frustrating customer service call abyss is something we all can relate to. Remember the joy of having your first apartment? Did yours require certain modifications? Kelley Santi’s tale about physical challenges included a broken elevator, dicey crossing of the street and having persistence on her side. Her tale was also presented Terkel style with the assistance of Megan McGee. Deserae took a moment from emcee duties to share her narrative of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, separation versus mainstreaming; and while life has improved for individuals with disabilities, there is definitely room for additional growth.
After a brief intermission, Deserae welcomed the crowd back by reading UltraShorts. Before some brave audience members took to the stage to share their true, personal stories, she addressed the crowd about how not all disabilities are visible. First up was Jill Potkay whose story included dealing with mainstreaming, physical challenges and (mis)adventures in education. She reminded the audience to speak up for the change you want. Hannah Ricke was next and delved a bit into the invisible disabilities (example: ADHD, schizophrenia) she has the privilege of addressing through her job working with developmentally disabled clients. Another Terkel? Yes, please! Matthew & Micah shared hilarious memories of navigating physical and invisible disabilities and how they free you from regular social norms. Advocate Leanne McGregor gave the crowd a kick with her narrative of never settling and being a supportive vessel for those in need. Barbara Leigh, the evening’s final storyteller, gifted the crowd with words of hope & wisdom, plus she plays the flute cane quite nicely.
No votes, no crown and yet everyone in attendance walked away a winner in their own way. A BIG thank you to the storytellers for gracing the stage, allowing us a glimpse into their daily lives. Special thanks to ASL interpreters Alyssa Schauer and Jim Hagen courtesy of CommunicationLink, SkyLight Music Theatre and our volunteers.
Community partnerships and outreach efforts like this strengthen community bonds; uniting individuals one true, personal story at a time. Your sponsorship allows Ex Fabula to continue this mission. Story. Stage. You. Ex Fabula could not do this without YOU. Support our on-going community building efforts by making a contribution. Your sponsorship efforts of Ex Fabula are very much appreciated!
All photos courtesy of Art Montes.