Confronting Prejudices and Challenges and Celebrating Accomplishments of Persons with Disabilities in the 1989 Wichita State Theatre's Production of "Doin' the Reality Rag" by Lawrence Perkins

By Judith M. Babnich.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Electric wheelchairs, white canes and walkers are not the props one would generally associate with a comic-theatre revue. Nevertheless, individuals with disabilities (36 million in the United States alone), believe that active and full participation in the creative arts is every bit as crucial as equal employment and educational opportunities. In recognition of the need to remove attitudinal barriers toward the disabled in the arts and provide disabled persons with employment opportunities in the theatre, Wichita State University Theatre produced Lawrence Perkins musical revue "Doin' the Reality Rag," which focused on disability issues in a way that was both humorous and thought-provoking. This paper will examine the process of how the production was produced from auditions to the final performance and how the play impacted the lives of the actors as well as the audience.

Keywords: Actors with Disabilities, Theatre as a Tool for Social Change, Understanding the Disabled

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.43-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 230.274KB).

Dr. Judith M. Babnich

Professor, Theatre, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, USA

I have directed over 30 plays including 6 original plays. I have been to the American College Regional Festival twice. I have published over 10 articles as well as given paper presentations nationally and internationally.