Socratic questions

Potent questions concerning people with disabilities. There is no unequivocal answer and yet we all try to find it within ourselves…

We are expanding or questioning our current attitudes using the Socratic method of asking more and more questions. We want to provoke, appeal to critical thinking, and deepen our knowledge of ourself and the world.

Is attending a theatre performance by actors with learning disabilities a quest for artistic experience or another form of charitable support for them?

When I go to the theatre, I expect to get something from the actors - a story, entertainment, charming moments, food for thought ... I also expect to give something to the actors - my attention, my response and at the end I show my appreciation with applause. What is the relationship between what I get and what I give when I go to a theatre for actors with a learning disability? Are they there for me or me for them?

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Is it okay for a serious character (such as Hamlet) to be played by an actor with a learning disability? Is it okay for a non-disabled actor to play a character who has a disability?

It is common in the theatre for an actor to represent someone else, a person with a different identity. Are there any boundaries that should not be crossed?

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Does an actor’s disability enable them to address important human and social issues on stage?

Theatre performances often explore big topics. For example: Who has power over other people and why? Who is right and who is not? Who is guilty and who is innocent? What is more important, feelings or duty? And so on. Can actors with a learning disability effectively communicate these questions via performance?

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Should an adult actor with a learning disability have a say in choosing a play, or does he/she share that responsibility with a parent / guardian who knows what his or her child is able to understand and what he or she is not?

Deciding what a theatre group will perform is difficult and must address numerous considerations - how many actors, what roles they are suitable for, what interests them and what the director is interested in, what is currently happening in society, etc. What is the best way for us to involve artists who have learning disabilities in this process?

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Should the audience control themselves from laughing at the performance or actor?

What is laughter and what is ridicule? Do you see the distinction differently during a performance by actors with a learning disability compared with a performance in a normal theatre?

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Is theatre for actors who have a learning disability art or therapy? And if therapy, then for whom?

Let's think about what motivates people to create a theatrical production. Why are they doing this at all? And what reasons might actors with learning disabilities have? Do they share the same motivations?

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Is it okay for an actor with a learning disability to act on stage alongside a professional non-disabled actor? Does it deliver a complete performance?

The art of acting is not just about showing off one's own performance. It's also about playing together, being partners. What is the significance of collaborating on stage with actors who have a learning disability?

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Can we apply the same criteria when evaluating performances of actors with a learning disability as we would in the critique of any other performance?

When someone asks me after the performance, "Was it good?", will I evaluate the performance of actors who have a learning disability in the same way as any other performance, or will I consider other aspects?

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Should the entry requirements for theatres and theatre schools be designed to allow, for example, people with Down syndrome to fulfil the admission criteria?

People don't have to study acting to be an actor. But most professional actors went to theatre schools. Should people with learning disabilities have the opportunity to study acting?

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