On The Spectrum
By Ken LaZebnik
Directed by Jack Reuler
Originally produced at Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis, MN.
November 12, 2011 through November 27, 2011
About the Premiere Production
Is autism a disability or a difference? This simple but profound question that generates passionate debate online is at the center of a new play by Ken La Zebnik (author of Mixed Blood Theatre’s Vestibular Sense and Theory of Mind and winner of the American Theatre Critics Association’s 2007 Osborne New Play Award). In On the Spectrum, a young man with Aspberger’s – passing as “typical” after years of mainstreaming and therapy – connects with a woman who proudly champions her autism as a difference, not a disorder. This love story between an “aspie” and an “autie” reveals the contradictions between finding success as oneself and on the world’s terms, and the conflict between the desire for acceptance and the desire for achievement. To greatly expand access to this production, Mixed Blood will live stream a performance for those unable to attend, and will offer a digital version of the show after its run.
Mixed Blood Theatre aspires to be a key destination for audiences and artists with disabilities through programming, casting, and creation of a welcoming environment. Producing work by, with, for, and about individuals with and affected by disabilities has, over the past decade, become a core part of the company’s mission and vision. On the Spectrum is one of three plays that Mixed Blood will produce simultaneously in a November 2011 disability-focused festival. “Center of the Margins” presents three plays that complement one another and create a multi-prong theatrical portrait of disability, creating synergy between disparate populations as audiences and artists.
This grant will allow Mixed Blood to produce a difficult world premiere production of On The Spectrum. There are two key characters in this play, commissioned by Mixed Blood, who are on the autism spectrum, one diagnosed with Asperbger’s Syndrome and one with significant communication delays, communicating by computer voicing in some of the play as well as her own flat affect of real speech. Mixed Blood will do an exhaustive search to find two actors who meet these characters’ diagnoses. Another character is the mother of a child with autism and, again, it is the aim to cast an actress with that life experience. Normally a Mixed Blood production opens at the end of the fourth week of rehearsal. Edgerton funds will be used to extend this rehearsal period by three weeks with the actors, director, composer, playwright and three designers (media, scenic, and sound). This extended rehearsal period will yield a production of the highest professional standards, uncompromised in all areas.
Director: Jack Reuler
National Endowment for the Arts
Theatre Communications Group