IPTN: Disability and Artistry

PlaybackOur workshop at the International Playback Theatre Network conference in Montreal provided an opportunity for directors, and individual performers, to think with us about disability, inclusion, and aesthetics. The time allotted to the workshop passed much too quickly as we engaged in a deep conversation about these difficult topics.

One  of the most challenging aspects of any conversation about theater and disability is making the distinction between theater for, theater by, theater to, and theater with. Still other categories have been suggested, perhaps in an effort to thicken our understanding of this thorny topic.

These distinctions have evolved to address the difference between theater practices that nominally include persons with disabilities, those provide programing to persons labeled as disabled, and those that seek to be truly inclusive. The latter may originate in group or individual work by disabled persons, or by ensembles of “mixed abilities,” in which the presence of disability is acknowledged, but normalized, resulting in an aesthetic that explores the differently abled body-mind as a vehicle for storytelling in myriad ways. Continue reading

Illness as Journey

tracks-in-the-snowI’ve been recovering from some health issues. This has meant a good deal of time at home, and seemingly innumerable trips to see one specialist or another. I guess this is par for the course for aging.

Illness creates a dual journey: interior and exterior. The external journeys are in themselves diverse. One travels to appointments, near and far. One journeys with family members as they traverse the altered landscape of their lives, landscapes changed by you, intentionally or not. Continue reading


Fresh-SnowJourneys take many forms. Lately I have been submerged in reading, each book exploring unique territory. Often I find myself reading books that share common themes, even as they explore differing landscapes. The books I write about below share themes of travel, community, and the search for meaning. Continue reading

Waterbury Celebrates

This gallery contains 15 photos.

This morning I went to Waterbury for their Just About July Fourth Parade. The event this year celebrates the village’s 250 birthday! I was using the walker and had a bit of difficulty finding a place to sit. Finally I … Continue reading

Despair and Climate Change

Crow Addresses the DcksToday is a warm, humid day in Chennai. Back home in Vermont, the last couple of weeks, very much like the winter to date, have been on the warm side. It seems clear from recent climate data that global climate change is proceeding much more rapidly than scientists predicted or we imagined. Continue reading

A Musical Tour of The Atlantic Provinces

One of the great pleasures of wandering through Atlantic Canada in the summer is music. Everywhere one goes one finds musicians and dancers, playing and dancing. The quality of the music is uniformly high, and the musicians and their communities treasure music, musicians, and dancers. The musicians and dancers shown here remain autonomous. Continue reading

A Dunlop Inn Conversation, Braddeck, Cape Breton

I’ve been standing on the deck of the Dunlop Inn in Braddeck, Cape Breton Island. The bay opens before us. There are beginner swimmers on the beach across the way. I imagine they are mindful of the jellies that drifted into the marina yesterday.

I am speaking with Bev, the hostess here at the Inn. We are talking about her life., and the life of the local community. She has lived in five houses, all on the same plot of land. There used to be an orchard on the land that produced delicious apples in many varieties, “tasting much better than the one’s grown now.” She and her husband have downsized their home, giving her prior residence to her daughter and family. Continue reading