Bakehouse Theatre – The Studio, Mon 22 Feb
I suspect one must have some fairly close experience of autism to fully appreciate this show. It was entertaining enough – quite high energy (and loud at times) – as it explores the world of autism through the eyes of someone ‘on the spectrum’, their family, and a hidden counsellor/therapist/drama tutor persona who is trying to cure his client of the condition.
It’s easy to see how someone who doesn’t quite fit the norm feels harassed by a world that wants them to be like everyone else. It is also true that someone with autism may not understand what they are missing out on. Tahlia has been diagnosed with autism and funded to attend drama workshops to help her develop things like an awareness of emotional connections and the importance of context. These scenes were instructive because they revealed what Tahlia was not comfortable with or did not understand. She doesn’t enjoy role playing scenarios, word association games or imagining the colour of emotions. And she doesn’t see how such activities might address deficiencies she’s not even aware of. She’s been told she has ‘problems’ that need fixing, but she doesn’t know what they are. And that makes them hard to ‘fix’.
When Tahlia turns 18 she is no longer eligible for the program and quite a spiteful scene follows where her family take aim at government funding bodies and support agencies and accuse them of being profiteering and heartless.
Ironically it is often Tahlia who is the calm presence amid the stress and concern that her condition generates in others.
I enjoyed it. And I learned quite a bit about autism.
Chase The Feeling continues at Bakehouse Theatre – The Studio, at various times, until Sat 27 Feb
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.