Mia: Daughters of Fortune by Mind The Gap Theatre
"thank you (...) Mind the Gap for bringing this show to the Fringe and not sugar-coating the truth."
I had had conversations before seeing this show and being aware of the subject matter, I told a friend of mine that I would be happy to have a child. Her response was to laugh and when I asked what the joke was, she said nothing. It opened up a conversation where a lot of my friends didn’t realise I knew quite a bit about sex education “despite what you have”. I was both offended but curious of this attitude and I hoped I’d find some answers when watching this show.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Right at the start, the five talented actors broke the ice easily, confronting the old attitudes that have somehow found a way into 2017. Is there an image of disabled people being like innocent children who shouldn’t know anything about sex? Absolutely. And they show how music videos and songs prove otherwise, with sex being a leading theme in both music and movies.
The statement that this play brilliantly puts through to its audience is the question “how would you feel if you had to be tested to check if you’re good enough to be a parent?” I’ve been asked in my various assessments questions like “how long have you had Asperger’s Syndrome?” (my answer was “all my life”) and I’ve had friends who have been questioned on their mobility and how much they use their specially built cars and then getting the response “well, it looks like you barely use it so…” And then the appeals, the stress and the sleepless night and even if you win, you know “they” will come back to test you again. But why is it that a disabled soon-to-be-parent needs to show they are capable of being a “parent” when even non-disabled parents don’t know how they will be until the baby is born?
I found myself having an imaginary conversation in an assessment to be a parent as I left the theatre – the cast receiving a well-deserved standing ovation for their hard work – and chatting to a lady who sat there with a notepad reading the 30 or so questions we’ve heard over and over again during the show. I asked the same questions the cast brought up – “Why weren’t you tested? Why must I go through this? You can take our benefits away again and again – mobility car, scooter, money to get by in a week - but please don’t take away our children. Why should the parent be punished for having a child and why should the child be punished for having a disabled parent?”
Not that the show was depressing, it had its (very) funny moments and the cast showed versatility, understanding of the source and charisma that other Fringe shows should watch for themselves and learn from. As a disabled performer myself, I was pleased by the audiences overwhelmingly positive response so thank you Anna, Andy, Alison and JoAnne and Mind the Gap for bringing this show to the Fringe and not sugar-coating the truth.
Run has now ended.
Written by Emma McCaffrey
Emma McCaffrey has performed with Lung Ha Theatre Company since 2013. She is the co-founder and film editor of a YouTube film production company called "The Reluctant Penguin Production" which films for and with performers with learning disabilities and for charities such as Get2gether. She also performs in the Edinburgh Salvation Army City Corp band on tenor horn and performs with the Wester Hailes drama group "Whales Without a Cause". Emma writes and develops her own plays, music and stories.