By Don Barrie
Students representing Ryerson’s Access Centre will perform a play showcasing the voice of students with disabilities for its 10th anniversary celebration.
The play, entitled Equability, was written by second-year theatre student Rebecca Naylor, who uses the services of the Access Centre. Naylor, 20, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, but has been in remission for the past three years. She wrote the play specifically for the Access Centre’s 10th anniversary celebrations.
The Access Centre opened in 1989 as a response to government legislation aimed at providing greater access to education for people with disabilities.
“This play incorporates my personal experience with having a disability,” she said. “It also deals with emotions and is an attention-getter.”
Equability does not contain any characters in the traditional sense. It is dominated by a series of emotions and ideas, represented as colours. Each colour is based on the experiences of actual Ryerson students with disabilities.
“This play does take risks, but it also tries to inspire positive, constructive change in a non-political way,” Naylor said. “It mainly deals with social issues on an interactive and social basis.”
Melanie McNeill, the Access Centre’s administrative co-director, said the play isn’t aimed at being a lesson for the audience. “It’s not preachy — it’s presenting things as they are, and that’s it.”
McNeill wants people to realize that individuals with disabilities are human beings. “Get over it. It’s not that big a deal. We’re people too,” she said.
Co-ordinator Stacey Whyne Berman said the Access Centre wanted to put on a celebration that also promoted awareness. “This is designed to be both an entertaining and thought-provoking event.”
Courtney Vint, the show’s stage manager, says the play does a good job of educating people. “If people would just realize that individuals with disabilities are people too, we could get along much better as a society,” Vint said. “That may have some wonderful ideas that we may not get to explore because we don’t open our eyes to them.”