Seeley Quest "Representations of Disability Experience in Live Theatre"

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Recorded by Seeley Quest on January 22, 2020

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Lecture Summary: Representation of disability experience in live theatre, outcomes of work initiated by disabled art makers, and of practicing transparent communication with mixed audiences, using research-creation processes with two script projects of mine in development. This series created collaboratively with the public will also require representing accessibility accommodations with minimized carbon footprints, including enacting that in the project production, another key aspect of disability futurity. 

One has contemporary setting, features two physically disabled characters, negotiating power dynamics as photographer and model, raising questions of exposure, desire, consent--and of negotiating power as a physically and cognitively disabled playwright with performers and audience, in decisions about what kinds of disabilities and experiences to represent, and authenticity versus artifice.  The characters don’t have assigned genders, and collaborating in different gendered pairings through workshops and productions’ castings, navigating gendered and sexual tensions along with variable embodiments, is a phenomenon part of disability futurity.

The other script is set in Montreal fifteen years in the future, not centering crips as much, yet the radio drama serial will have a majority of disabled actors and production crew, and feature crip characters in this future world daily contributing to life in ecologically-remade communities.

Seeley Quest's work focuses on embodied encounters and representation in live theatre. Quest also brings environmental and sustainability issues into conversation with Disability Studies. A published poet, curator, and widely toured performer, Quest has engaged with audiences in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal - their current home base - and many U.S. cities particularly in Oakland and the Bay Area. 

Download the full event transcript here.

Download a French translation of the full event transcript here.

Resources and Further Reading

Speaker's Publications

Performance excerpts in: Sin Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty. (2013). Access here. 

Poems in: Petra Kuppers. Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 

Quest, Seeley. "A Crooked Tail." THEM lit: a trans literary journal, no. 2. (2014), 49. Access here

Quest, Seeley. "Crooked." In At the Intersection of Disability and Drama: A Critical Anthology of New Plays, edited by John Michael Sefel, Amanda Slamcik Lassetter, and Jill Summerville, 139-149. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2021. 

Quest, Seeley. "meditations on intimacy." Fiction International, no. 49. (2016). Access here. 

For more information on the speaker's publications click here.

Other Resources

Alice Sheppard

Canadian Association for Theatre Research

Creative Capital

Creative Capital Kenya Robinson 2017 Interview

Forest 404

Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company's Green Theatre Choices Toolkit 

Opulent Mobility

Petefish-Schrag, Amanda. "Inspired by Trash: Finding a New Path to Tradition, Ethics, and Sustainability in Puppetry." Theatre/Practice, 5. (2016). Access here.

Slope : Intercept

Staff Benda Bilili

The Steampunk Submarine

Tangled Art + Disability 

Tanja Beer

"Was It a Dream I Loved" (Axis Dance Company performance)