Producer & Performer – Debra Keenahan
Producer & Director – Katrina Douglas
Set & Costume Design – Kate Shanahan
Composer & Sound Design – Paul Prestipino
Film & Video Design – Sean Bacon
Lighting Design – Matt Cox
Production Manager – Madeleine Picard
Script Consultant – Nick Atkins
Lighting Operator – Chris Milburn
Tech Crew – Sam Scott & Keelan Ellis
Photo Documentation – Robert Brindley
Video Documentation – Sam James
See people through a mirror. Experience life through Debra’s eyes and realise the uncomfortable fact- Being different might be dangerous. Othering makes you realise the truth about being treated differently. Discover the science, history, and heart of it all, and participate in the joys of seeing the world from a new perspective.
Inspired by performer Debra Keenahan’s lived experience, this provocative new work addresses the physical, social and personal dimensions of personhood to examine the subject of ‘being different’ as an insider. By emphasising the reactions, attitudes and behaviours of the broader society in the construction of difference and disability,
Othering encourages audiences to reﬂect upon how we use words and actions to ‘other’ people who are seen to be different.
Available to Tour
Theatre, Drama, Biography, Monologue
Suitable for 16+
Theatre (Proscenium), Civic/Cultural Centre, Black Box, Studio
1 x Performers
1 x Production Manager
1 x Stage Manager
Sydney Festival 2023 at Casula Powerhouse
What people are saying
★★★★.5 “Powerfully (Othering) does what live performance can do so brilliantly; it presents us with a real person whose truth is undeniable, and who we refuse to hear only at a risk of diminishment of our own humanity”. Theatre Red
“Debra calls upon us all to bear witness to past injustices, to our own history and to sign up to a better future based on what she calls the power of respect. We need people like her in all communities who have suffered for so long to bring the privileged society to account”. Theatre Thoughts
“By setting out so beautifully what peace, human dignity and acceptance actually look like in her everyday life, Keenahan lights the way forward.” Sydney Scoop
“Keenahan is an engaging storyteller who leavens the show’s didacticism with humour and compelling anecdote. She challenges the audience to consider how they speak and behave towards those perceived as other”. Sydney Morning Herald
Othering is a powerful new performance that encourages audiences to reﬂect on the blasé ill-treatment of people with dwarﬁsm, and in turn, people who are viewed as ‘outside the norm’.
It will appeal to:
- Families with young people 12+ seeking stories that go beyond the typical narratives.
- Marginalised, people with disability people who experience societal challenges on a daily basis.
- English and Drama students exploring stories of the underrepresented and the diverse.
It’s a topic most people are familiar with but never had a chance to dig deeper. Othering sheds light on diversity and the people with disability members of the community and how they are perceived, received and treated in the daily but most members of the community.
The topic is a great springboard to engage audiences as young as eight years old to view and analyse the personal impacts of social behaviour with a marginalised community. Given the current social climate, audiences are keen to understand the implications of these topics in their daily experience.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY AND DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
- Engage local health professionals in terms the How’s and Why’s of interacting with our people with disability members of the community.
- Seek out local champions with regards to social stigma of being different from the majority of the community.
- Partner with organisations with regard to localised and specific discussions on diversity and its impact to self and the community.
WORKSHOPS & CONVERSATIONS
We’re keen to explore forums, interactive and digital conversation events, and creative workshops with you. Please chat to us about creating a special event or education experience at your venue.
About Debra Keenahan
From the artist:
My multi-disciplinary art practice explores Critical Disability Aesthetics. As a woman with dwarfism, I work collaboratively to experiment with the representation of my embodied difference. The focus of my art to date, has been upon features and dynamics of interactions and relations within physical and social environments that define the dwarf person as an Other. By experimenting with the power of the gaze and changing point of view, I emphasise the politics of visible difference. Employing the mediums of performance, video, VR, photography, and sculpture, my oeuvre has evolved to culminate in cross art-form works. I explore the capacities of each medium to communicate a different and dynamic perspective of lived experience.
My approach to Critical Disability Aesthetics experiments with shifting point of view to engage with and immerse participants and audiences into my world. I constantly challenge traditional stereotypes about those who look different, and to date, the subject of my work in this endeavour is my lived experience. As my art practice evolves, I aim to move beyond the perspective of the individual. My current works explore the experiences of those who share my body type from the four corners of the world, different gender identities, ages, strata of society and those at intersections of disadvantage.
Experimenting further with cross art-forms – visual and auditory – I aim to produce work that invites audiences to engage with these different perspectives and points of view to gain new insight and understanding of what it is like to be “a different kind of different”.
As an artist and academic my experimental approach to Critical Disability Aesthetics has been exhibited in both National and State galleries and festivals, published in chapters, discussed in interviews, presented at conferences and workshops.