Performance of Echolalia this Sunday @ The Paramount
AUTISM COMMUNITY AND FRIENDS PERFORMANCE - Sunday July 21st 11.30am at the Paramount Theatre
"the character is a joy to experience."
by Jen McArthur
Winner of Best Solo Show, Best of Fringe and Best in Theatre in two NZ Fringe Festivals, Echolalia is a "beautifully crafted and exquisitely executed" (theatreview.co.nz) solo clown theatre performance by Jen McArthur about Asperger's Syndrome.
Inspired by the humour and directness of autistic children while working on a holiday program (the Autism Intervention Trust holiday program with Bria Hayward), McArthur's delightful character Echo doesn’t register social niceties. A young woman on the spectrum preparing for a much needed job interview, Echo unwittingly puts our unspoken social rules under the spotlight…and finds a lot of them wanting.
"I began to think that their perspective could give us a lot of insight into our established norms of social behaviour. With further research I began to learn the realities - both wonderful and heart breaking - for this section of our population and I felt that putting this perspective on stage had the potential to benefit everybody." Jen McArthur
uses clown, physical theatre and dance to portray Echo's
story. She has often been asked "Why clown?" for this
subject and whether she was worried that people would end up
seeing it as mockery.
"Through its naivety and openness, clown has the potential to cut straight to an empathetic heartfelt response from the audience and I think this is a really useful way to tell a story about a section of our population that could do with some increased understanding. I have found that there is something about Echo that almost everyone relates to - maybe there is something universal about feeling socially gauche. And the poetry of clown (and dance) is especially useful for portraying autism in terms of their different experience of the senses - hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling."
This performance is a fund raiser to help Jen get to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. After great reviews and performances at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in March, Jen was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by C Venues. This prestigious offer gives her an opportunity to be seen by international bookers and festivals and give the story of Echo a longer life through touring.
Admission is through open donation - suggestions are $10 per adult, $20 per family and any extra is gratefully received (She has $4000 to raise!) Donations can be made on the door or to her Arts Foundation Boosted campaign - www.boosted.org.nz/projects/an-echo-in-edinburgh