ELPEHANT is a show that focuses on the story of a mixed race disabled man born in Africa, told by a cast of deaf and disabled performers.
Defying audiences’ expectations regarding disability and cultural heritage, the performers use aerial circus, live music, audio description and British Sign Language as creative tools of story telling.
The performance starts with the main character presenting himself as an out-of-work actor who decides to tell his own story, which in his opinion makes a more interesting tale than most of the casting calls he gets. As his story unfolds, the audience learns of his efforts of trying to conform to labels of race, nationality and physical ability. Exploring his desires, hopes and dreams, we learn about the relationship he has with the colour of his skin and disability; a relationship that doesn’t let him belong exclusively to any ethnic or ability group.
Disabled performers were commonly seen in circus in Freak Shows although it is documented that they there were also performers with impairments, who where experts in acrobatic and aerial disciplines. They disappeared from the limelight after the great war because they were a constant reminder of soldiers who suffered long term injuries due to armed conflict.
ELEPHANT is one of the few shows in the UK that tries to bring back disabled performers to Aerial Circus limelight.Society wants to be uplifted by disability stories, not confronted and asked to adjust to the disability of ordinary people. In film, theatre and even daily life, disability is preferred as a metaphor rather than an everyday reality. This means that the disabled box is often only ticked in show business when there is a particular point to make. Few disabled performers exist, and even fewer are called to show their own point of view, free of expectations. ELEPHANT tries to show the world through the point of view of a disabled performer that ticks so many boxes he ends up ticking none.