final-showcase-poster-2014-by-brianby Z(ee)

I did something very interesting last month, I went to see a musical production of Grease by Dramaworks at the Rivoli Theatre at the Swansea Town Hall Community Centre. I was expecting a large auditorium with lights, a stage and the whole works. Boy was I surprised; it was in a room, a little bigger than my room at West Park but without the four beds. The stage consisted of an open space in the front and back of the room with an aisle running down the center. All the seating faced the center aisle. There were people sitting everywhere, even on the floor on either side of the aisle. That made it hard for the people in wheelchairs to see the entire performance, because we were at the back of the sitting area, facing one of the doors and only one part of the stage. The production team was outside those doors and the performers were coming in and out through the doors.

This performance consisted of actors with disabilities; but I thought it would be of all different disabilities at once, however this one was primarily developmental disabilities. This made it a little hard to understand when you couldn’t see the whole show from my vantage point. But the idea was great and everybody enjoyed the show to the point where they sang along with the music. A few members also shouted out famous lines from the original production, helped by the prompters on their sound system. There must have been a lot of family members and people from the area because there was a wide age range, from babies to more elderly people! To me it seems that the majority of the audience lived through that time and had also brought their families to the performance. In that way they became a part of the show. It took you right back into that era. The costuming also was reminiscent of that time.  The boys wore blue jeans and black leather bomber jackets and also had ducktailed hairdos. The girls wore poodle skirts, sweater sets and barrettes in their hair.  They also had on matching pink jackets.

Final thoughts: What made it so enjoyable was the audience participation; when they sang along with the songs, and the boisterous clapping and cheering. I think the production staff did a fantastic job of keeping everything moving.When leaving you felt like you knew the people around you. Maybe next time they could include different levels so that everyone would have a better vantage point. Overall it was an enjoyable experience because of the audience enthusiasm. A big two thumbs up!