Ensemble show about people who were institutionalized for having developmental disabilities is an effective work in progress
BIRDS MAKE ME THINK ABOUT FREEDOM by the company (L’Arche Toronto Sol Express). At the Al Green Theatre. July 10 at 1 pm (relaxed performance with ASL interpretation), July 13 at 6:15 pm (open audio description), July 15 at 3:30 pm (ASL interpretation). Touch table tour available prior to each performance. See listing. Rating: NNN
Featuring an integrated ensemble cast, under the direction of Cheryl Zinyk, this show is a powerful piece on the impacts of Ontario’s recent history of institutionalization for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Created by L’Arche’s Sol Express program, with support from Jumblies Theatre, this is a work that stems directly from the voices of institutional survivors and disabled adults. Using dance, music and multimedia components, the show skillfully demonstrates the varied ways that the institutionalization movement has impacted the lives of disabled people in Ontario for the worse, and with the dismantling of the institutions, for the better.
Each vignette is powerful, including a somber memorial scene for those who did not survive the institutions, a video interview on freedom and an exquisite fabric dance.
As a piece in progress, more production work is necessary to weave each of these strong elements into a cohesive narrative. I look forward to the next stunning iteration those on the look-out for hit shows in early development should check it out.