A new Theatre Terrific class was starting.
I was waiting in the studio for the students to arrive.
A gentleman poked his head in the door and asked, ” Is this the Theatre Terrific class?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
He disappeared and appeared again with another aide pushing a young man in a wheelchair down the ramp into the studio.
The young man was dark haired.
His legs were taut and stretched out in front of him, his fingers curled and his arms tense.
His face was handsome…dark brown eyes and heavy brows.
His eyes….you could not help but look at his eyes…..were full and deep.
The two aides introduced themselves and left.
They had forgotten to tell me the young man’s name and he was not on my list.
It was apparent that speaking was a difficult task for the young man.
“This is interesting” I thought.
The other students arrived and we started class.
Part way through the class I put out various books…wanting the students to look at different images and tell me what they felt when they looked at them.
One of the books was called The Big Ugly Monster.
It is a children’s story about a monster whose only friend in the world is a stone rabbit that he has carved.
The monster lives his whole life, playing with , singing to and dancing for his only friend, the stone rabbit.
One day, the monster does not come out of his cave.
The stone rabbit sits alone.
I held up the picture of the big ugly monster dancing under the starlit night for his friend the stone rabbit.
I asked; “Who likes this picture?”
The young man in the wheelchair threw his hand up.
“Ah” I thought.
I asked him; “Why do you like this picture?”
I asked again, “Why do you like this picture?”
His eyes looked at me….wide…open…loud.
His answer started in his legs.
They jerked out so hard that he accidently kicked his shoe off….his arms contorted… reaching up…his fingers twisted…..his mouth opened wide.
He struggled to shape his mouth and with a breath, the word “it……ssssss” flew out.
I bowed my head, acknowledging that I understood the word and willed the rest to come out.
His mouth opened again….his hand hit his thigh…hard… and his eyes galloped.
His mouth formed and the breath of “d…a….rrrrr….k” flew out.
I nodded; “You like it because it’s dark?”
One of the students blurted, “He talks!”
The young man’s name is Kieran Naugler. He is 19 years old. I would wait as long as it takes to hear what he has to say. I want him to be in the next Theatre Terrific production because he too…is dark, beautiful, brilliant and an amazing human being.
In the words of Oscar Wilde, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Theatre Terrific’s work is:
Supporting artists of all abilities in the rigorous creation of provocative theatre
Theatre Terrific brings together artists who would normally never work together. Our diverse ensembles include professional and emerging artists with or without developmental, physical, or mental health issues, gender or language challenges.
We create professional and community productions, give classes and workshops in the craft of theatre and support a wide range of struggling artists.
Help us to offer the Kieran Naugler’s of the Lower Mainland the respectful challenge of attempting the craft of theatre.
Help us to pay increased operating costs for those who strive to support unique, diverse voices.
Help us to bring artists of all abilities into Vancouver’s cultural mosaic.
As told by Theatre Terrific’s Artistic Director Susanna Uchatius.