Dan Savage’s Play “Miracle!”
So Dan Savage has been working on a new theatre production which he wrote and direct called Miracle!. Here’s the blurb from the website:
You know writer and activist Dan Savage from The Stranger and the It Gets Better Project, but Dan’s first love was theatre. This summer Dan returns from his theatrical hiatus to create a drag extravaganza that asks what would happen if Helen Keller and the Seattle drag scene of the early 1990’s smashed into each other. Raised by a drag queen amidst false lashes and sequined bras, Helen Stellar struggles to find her voice during amateur drag nights at Seattle’s own Brass Connection. Only with the help of a mysterious out-of-town tutor, and an army of divas, will Helen become a show-stopping queen. Watch the versatile acting ensemble break free from Shakespeare and Ibsen in the fabulous Miracle!, a comedy that guarantees to be offensively heartwarming and celebrate the unique voice in us all.
Feeling furious about the blatant ableism in the production, I was hoping to find a review that called attention to it and spoke to how we shouldn’t be producing theatre that reproduces/encourages oppression (I haven’t read any that do) and then I read this
The pink placard above the stage of Miracle!, which opened at Intiman on July 14, says it all: “The play you are about to see is deeply offensive to the Deaf-Blind community. Do not tell them about it. Keep your hands shut.”
Not funny. At all. This is not about whether the humor is crass or vulgar which all of the reviews praise no end. It’s about reproducing oppressive narratives, passing it off as a clever joke, and then telling everyone to not be so uptight. Disabled people are systematically denied access in theatre arts—I can’t even begin to count how many theaters I have been in that do not have easily accessible stages, not to mention how few directors there are that would understand needs around dyslexia, stuttering, etc.—and the above “joke” indicates the belief that the disabled community does not attend theatre either. And while I imagine that the producers would respond that it is a joke and that they value accessibility (in the narrowest sense), this type of joking reveals very real underlying assumptions about who theatre is for and what bodies and minds are deemed acceptable on stage.
If this upsets you as much as it does me, write to the Intiman and let them know:
201 Mercer St | PO Box 19537
Seattle, WA 98109