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Playwright-performer Ryan J. Haddad and his costars discuss their new play at The Public Theater
Ryan J. Haddad isn't afraid to go there... or anywhere, really. In no-holds-barred solo shows like Hi, Are You Single?, he's mined his life as a horny gay man with cerebral palsy for entertainment and insight. With Dark Disabled Stories, which is produced by The Bushwick Starr and presented by The Public Theater, he expands his lens, inviting two other performers, Deaf actor Dickie Hearts and disabled actor Alejandra Ospina, to share the spotlight and, at times, their own anecdotes. It's a landmark moment in theatre, both in terms of disability representation on stage and making the show accessible to disabled audiences. ASL interpretation, open captions and audio description are integrated into the production and provided at every performance, and discount tickets are available to members of the Deaf and disabled community with the promo code AccessDDS. We brought these three artists and activists together to talk about the challenges of navigating a world not built for them, what they hope audiences will take away from the show and what they wish every arts organization would do to truly make theatre accessible to all. If you weren't able to tune in live you can watch a recording below. Captions are available.
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Top image description: Ryan J. Haddad, Dickie Hearts and Alejandra Ospina sit next to each other in the rehearsal room for Dark Disabled Stories against a black background. Ryan is a Lebanese American man with short black hair, brown eyes and round, tortoiseshell glasses. He wears a red, yellow and green plaid flannel shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers. He is softly laughing holding his script, and his walker is in front of him. Dickie Hearts sits next to him. Dickie has olive skin and dark chocolate-colored curly hair. He smiles widely, wearing a yellow and blue plaid flannel shirt, blue jeans and brown and black cowboy boots. He has a music stand in front of him and is communicating in ASL. Alejandra Ospina sits next to Dickie on his right. She is a light-skinned Latina with short dark hair that is slicked back. She wears a grey, wool knit cap, round glasses and a black face mask. She wears a baby blue long-sleeve blouse and is holding her iPad with the script. She sits in her black motorized wheelchair with a grey blanket. Photo by Joan Marcus.