The Poor Dears

NASDA Theatre, E Block, CPIT, Christchurch

01/10/2009 - 04/10/2009

Production Details

A group of people with mainly intellectual disabilities decide to set up a theatre group. They want to give the group a distinctive name so they call themselves We Are Not The Poor Dears. They choose the name to signal that they are not asking for pity or to be patronised.

Unfortunately not many people can get their heads round this name so they end up being called The Poor Dears.

This is the story of The Poor Dears. Follow their madcap adventures as they struggle to survive in a country where funding is cut to Adult and Community Education and to those with high needs in schools. See how they cope with getting to rehearsals when all the wheelchair taxis are in use. Laugh as they explore Jung’s insight that sentimentality is the superstructure erected upon brutality.

Different Light: Theatre to disable your intellect and stimulate your imagination.

Venue.  NASDA Theatre
Date/Time.  Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th October at 8:00pm
Duration.  60 minutes approx
Cost.  $15, $12 (concessions) from the Court Theatre    

The Court Theatre Box Office
Open: Monday – Friday 9.00am – 8.15pm
Saturday 10.00am – 8.15pm
Phone: (03) 963 0870
Freephone: 0800 333 100
Court Theatre booking fees will apply

Enchanting, madcap and poignant celebration of difference

Review by Kerri Fitzgerald 03rd Oct 2009

A Different Light celebrates difference and "the poor dears" are people who are regarded as having a disability. This company seeks to create theatre that "disables the intellect and stimulates the imagination". The Poor Dears is a provocative, gleeful and animated piece which enables the audience to examine their own assumptions and to catalyse reflection.

The opening of a trail of shadowy oppressed shapes, crawling, walking and rolling across the stage creates a feeling of the burden of preconceptions surrounding the performers. Scenarios evolve which describe personal stories and which give political voice to the challenges of dealing with bureaucratic structures. The audience is transported into light hearted and whimsical dance theatre that parodies social expectations. Underlying this is the challenging truth that; "… under our clothes, we are all poor dears."

The question of what indeed is ‘normal’ is pivotal to this show. How those who are perceived as different are dealt with in a variety of situations, makes for stunning theatre. The platitudes are revealed for what they really are; a placebo for any real dialogue. Performers deliver poems, whirl about in enchanting demonstrations of physical expression and use their wit to drive home the strong message that they are NOT the ‘poor dears’.

Madcap and poignant scenes for this reviewer include the trio recreating when they were they were first alerted to "their difference", the electric guitarist and the cowboy slow duet.

The relevance of this piece in the current economic imperatives is all too real. Celebrate difference, encourage the expression of the multiplicity of realities existent in our society and see this show.
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