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Why do a version of Shakespeare’s Richard III in a multiverse?

From the files...

Patricia Allison looking down at camera with trees behind her.
Patricia Allison, writer and director of Richard Three, playing from August 17th - September 3rd at Withrow Park.
A question from actor, Alexia Vassos to Patricia Allison, writer, and director of Richard Three.

Dear Alexia,

Because it’s SO COOL!

But geeky-ness aside, for Richard Three, I really wanted to dissect the harmful Disability trope that Richard’s character is based on: Disability as monstrosity.

As someone living with multiple sclerosis, I live with continually evolving symptoms. Like branches on a tree, my life can split in new directions.

With each sclerosis that solidifies as a lesion in my brain, my life has the potential to either split in big, wild, and significant ways, OR my life continues to grow on quietly with indistinguishable differences.

And as you may have guessed, I have multiple of these sclerosis.

The most impactful damage to my brain, which affects me in both physical and cognitive ways, has forced me to confront different versions of myself. Versions that are constantly comparing who I am now to who I “used to be” and what I “used to be able to do”, while simultaneously grieving “who I could have become” and what my life “could have been”.

By using science fiction and bringing the character of Richard III into a multiverse, we are able to create infinite possibilities for the exploration of the character. We can have multiple Richards with varying lived experiences or Disabilities and/or opinions and perspectives.

So, I think my experience of living with multiple sclerosis is what I was inspired by and why I was compelled to explore the character of Shakespeare’s Richard III in this way.

The possibilities are endless.

Intergalactically yours,
Patricia Allison

The Disability Files is a monthly issue featuring letters written by members of the disability community that respond to honest questions about disability, art, and access.

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