At the heart of “Always October,” a new play by local writers with disabilities opening tonight in Alleyway Theatre (1 Curtain Up Alley) as part of a fundraiser for the Parent Network of WNY, is a story that has likely never been told on stage.
It centers on two adults with disabilities in a relationship caught up in a debate about whether one of them should move into a group home. The boyfriend sees the move as the end of his partner’s independence, while she sees it as another way for independence to be achieved. It’s an issue that thousands of disabled people and their families have faced, but which has rarely, if ever, been the subject of a play.
“We never see two individuals with disabilities on the stage. We never even think that we have relationships,” said director Victoria Perez, who also works for the Parent Network. “If there is an artistic outlet for people with disabilities, usually the group of the people participating all have disabilities, so there really isn’t any awareness of what’s going on.”
“Always October,” by contrast, features four actors with disabilities and four without and will be performed for a wider audience than such productions typically serve. It was written by Beth Geyer, Mary McLoughlin and Wanda Wilson.
Tickets for tonight’s performance are $75 as part of the fundraiser, and the remaining four performances are $20 each. Call 332-4170 or visit parentnetworkwny.org.
– Colin Dabkowski