by Lynn on November 17, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. W, Toronto, Ont.

Written by Tony Diamanti, Liz MacDougall, Karin Randoja, Christina Serra and Dan Watson.
Based on an original play by Tony Diamanti.
Directed by Karin Randoja
Lighting and projections by Melissa Joakim
Set and costumes by Jenna McCutchen
Sound by Miquelon Rodriguez
Cast: Tony Diamanti
Liz MacDougall
Christina Serra
Dan Watson

A whip-smart play about love, sex and disability in all its gritty, messy, humanness.

The Story. This is based on the lives of the cast. Tony Diamanti is an irreverent, thoughtful, confident man who has cerebral palsy and manoeuvres his world in a motorized wheelchair. He communicates by spelling out words using a wand attached to a head piece that he uses to point to letters on a board propped on the front of his wheelchair. His girlfriend is Liz MacDougall. And he thinks of sex frequently.

Liz is as irreverent as Tony. She has speech and hearing issues and is an advocate for disability rights. She is watchful and opinionated with a wicked sense of humour. Dan Watson and Christina Serra are married with two children and one expected in January. They are wonderful theatre artists in their own right. For the purposes of This is the Point, they are the parents of Bruno who is about five years old and has cerebral palsy. Bruno is not in This is the Point in person, but he plays a big part via video because we see the tremendous effort and team work it takes for Dan and Christina to take care of Bruno.

The Production. The stage is bare for the most part. Tony Diamanti rolls on quickly in his wheelchair. Dan Watson carefully puts on Tony’s headgear so he can point with the wand to the letters on his letter board to spell out his words. A videographer occasionally films the board; the image is then projected on a large screen behind Tony, so we can see how he spells and we can decipher what he is saying. The props are minimal—a couch, a bed. Dan Watson takes care of Tony, dressing him; putting on the head-gear; attending to his needs. He is a kind of narrator and explains aspects of the show.

In video we also see how Dan and his wife Christina Serra take care of their son Bruno, who also has severe cerebral palsy. It’s an exhausting balancing act to wash, dress, feed and tend to Bruno while also taking care of their other child who does not have cerebral palsy. The care, good will, sense of humour and love Dan and Christina have for both their children is terrific. There are scenes (not videoed) when both Dan and Christina ‘play’ Bruno. Christina carries the dead weight of Dan (as Bruno) and hoists him on the couch. The roles are then reversed as they both work together to tend, care and deal with Bruno issues. If they are concerned for the health of their unborn child, they don’t show it. Neat directing from Karin Randoja to show the work, effort and difficulty it is to take care of Bruno.

Liz MacDougall is Tony’s partner/girlfriend. She has hearing and speech issues and she deals with them as well as Tony deals with his. Both have a wicked, raunchy sense of humour. They need it to cope with society’s cruelty towards the disabled. We are told that when Liz was walking beside Tony’s motorized chair a person spat on him. They have been insulted. Director Karin Randoja balances the humour and eye-opening meanness that they all have endured because of a disability, either directly or indirectly.

At one point Dan is furious with Tony because Tony fired him. Dan is livid and while he doesn’t physically hurt Tony he yells at him right in his face, and then does something that is unforgiveable.

As for the sex. Tony seems to have sex on his mind all the time. Liz tries to help out. The scenes between the two of them are sensual, even erotic. They certainly give us an eye-opener as to what might happen with an almost physically helpless man, and a woman determined to give him joy and pleasure. I love that they don’t let us look away no matter how uncomfortable it is to watch.

Comment. The five creators got together to create this show about many things, disability seems to be the last topic for discussion. And it’s unflinching in its handling of it. More important the show is about love to all of them; sex to some of them. And lastly, a distant third, disability.

Co-produced by Ahuri Theatre and the Theatre Centre.

First performance: Nov. 4, 2016.
Closes: Nov. 20, 2016.
Cast: 4; 2 men, 2 women.
Running Time: 90 minutes.

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