Re-inventing Disability: A Standup Comic

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On stage and off, Henry Holden aims to dispel stereotypes of people with disabilities. He says “humor can relieve people’s awkwardness about seeming disabilities or disadvantages.”

Henry’s career has been an uphill climb on crutches. He has learned to throw off the hindering, self-defeating images so often portrayed in the media. He has walked through closed doors to become a first grade teacher, an insurance salesman, a motivational speaker, and an actor.  Acting is his true vocation, the one he pursues. Being a standup comic has trained him to act truly ‘present’ in his body. Humor makes this happen. 

On stage, or even just out around town, he wears a tuxedo with a ruffled shirt, accessorizing with variously styled crutches. He opened his comedy club act by standing stage center, leaning on his crutches, and saying, “You’re looking at the pope’s most amazing miracle: I went to him with a speech impediment and he cured it.”

Harry’s wit and wisdom carries the day.  He was interviewed for the longer article cited below.  As a serious actor, he awaits the role that will earn him an Oscar for best supporting actor.  When receiving his prize, he plans to walk up onto the stage without anyone’s support.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/jobs/an-actor-and-comedian-aiming-to-dispel-stereotypes.html?_r=0

Walking the Tightrope Metaphor

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“Peter Brook: The Tightrope” is a documentary film of actors pretending to walk a tightrope. Simon Brook, son of Peter Brook, directed this film which is as much about actor-training as it is about exposing a metaphor.

In fact, the ‘tightrope’ was a rolled-up Persian carpet on which the actors had to maintain balance but were permitted to perform tricks or stunts. Most importantly, they had to convey that they were genuinely suspended in the air, their feet hugging a thin cord.

Peter Brook, a theater director who is nearly 90 years old, coached the actors using both simple and abstract instructions. The participants soon understood the tightrope as a metaphor for the risks we take in life and the risks inherent in every serious acting role.

A.O. Scott, the New York Times film reviewer extended this metaphorical understanding: “At some point, though, perhaps many years after the encounter recorded here, they will peek down at the chasm under their feet and find themselves possessed of the agility and imagination to keep going.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/movies/peter-brook-the-tightrope-follows-the-theater-director.html?_r=0