#InTheLoop | Performers with Disabilities Shine at the Forward Festival of the Arts
BY QEDC It's In Queens
Get ready for two weekends of awe-inspiring dance, drama, music, and showmanship by performers who are deaf and/or disabled.
Queens Theatre hosts the first-ever Forward Festival of the Arts from May 13 to May 22.
Come one, come all. The venue provides Audio Description, Open Captioning, ASL interpretation, and other accessibility services. The schedule follows.
Omnium Circus opens with a multi-abled I’Mpossible in the Claire Shulman Theater on May 14 at 2 pm and again at 8 pm. ($25-$35.)
Dying to join the circus, Johny enters a world of aerial artistry, hula hoops, a free-standing ladder, contortion, the King Charles Unicycle basketball troupe, and the comedy of Rob and Miss Jane.
The physically integrated troupe Full Radius Dance goes next with Alice, Peter, and Dorothy and Undercurrents in the Claire Shulman Theater on May 15 at 3 pm. ($25.)
The first part examines the fantasy novels Alice in Wonderland, Peter and Wendy, and The Wizard of Oz through a disability-centric lens, asking such questions as how does disability inform the authors’ works? Performers flow on and off the stage during Undercurrents, pulling the spectacle in unexpected directions. They form and break partnerships, create dramatic effects, and expose hidden feelings and impulses.
Molly Joyce, whose left hand was impaired in a car accident, shares songs for voice, toy organ, electronics, and video playback in The Cabaret on May 15 at 5 pm. ($25.)
Joyce, who uses disability as a creative source, partners with ASL interpreter/performer Brandon Kazen-Maddox to provide further interpretation and gestural language. The show also features videos created in collaboration with artists Four/Ten Media, Marco Grosse, Maya Smira, and live sound engineering by Michael Hammond.
The audience gets a few days off, then the Phamaly Theatre Company, whose entire cast has disabilities, dazzles with The Spitfire Grill in the Claire Shulman Theater on May 21 at 8 pm and May 22 at 3 pm. ($25.)
This musical stars Percy, a young woman with a complicated past, who is looking to start a new life in a small, declining Wisconsin town. She finds work at the Spitfire Grill, a rundown diner with a disenfranchised proprietor. Through determination, optimism, and love, Percy revitalizes the grill and the community.
Queens Theatre is located at 14 United Nations Ave. S. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. A large, free parking lot is nearby.
Editor’s note: The Apothetae/New American Voices Reading Series, which is part of the Forward Festival of the Arts, will go on at the same time. Click here for more information.
Images: Queens Theatre