Lawnmowers Theatre Company, a company run by and for people with learning difficulties, is beginning a new tour of their play ‘Retake, Remake!’.
The play challenges popular films including Forest Gump and Rain Man, and questions the outdated Hollywood practice of having non-disabled people without lived experience playing disabled roles, and the representation of those with disabilities in film and TV as a whole. Snippets of these films are replayed and ‘remade’ through the art of lip syncing and stylised movement by performers with learning disabilities centre stage.
18% of the population have a disability, however only 8% of onscreen performances are by disabled people.
The cast of four – including Cameron Thompson and Andrew Robson, ‘take back’ films made about disabled people without disabled actors, in a lively, and moving way, tackling the injustice of misrepresentation and taking a stand against the marginalisation of disabled people.
“Actors like Tom Hanks, who don’t have a learning disability, plays a character with learning disabilities, it’s like he’s playing off a stereotype…Forest Gump was a fictional character, but it should have been acted by a person with learning disabilities…A learning disability person is very capable enough to do so, such as us.” – Cameron Thompson – Actor
The group want to show audiences that they have the ability to tell their own stories and are asking for greater respect for people with learning disabilities across the board in the future.
“At the end when they [the audience] come away from it, they should be thinking ‘Wow, yeah we need to now have some respect, we need to know that actually people with learning disabilities can do things.” – Andrew Robson, Actor.
“It’s a really amazing, polished, professional piece. I think that sometimes there’s a tendency to think ‘Oh that’s been made by people with learning difficulties- Wow! I didn’t expect it to be THAT good’. But actually, we need to get away from that biased conscious that people do have when it comes to learning disabled theatre” Claire Hills-Wilson – Artistic director.
Retake, Remake! tours until the 29th of September 2022 – visit https://lawnmowerstheatre.com for more information.