Aiming to simulate an autistic experience of the world for audiences, Citizen Theatre and A_tistic have joined forces to create a new theatrical work, Alexithymia at the Meat Market from 8 November as part of the 2017 Poppy Seed Theatre Festival.
Alexithymia is a condition that noticeably affects 85% of people diagnosed on the autism spectrum and is defined as an inability to name or describe emotions. Developed and presented by a neuro-diverse cast and creative team, Alexithymia is a speculative fiction, featuring an interdependent and delicate mix of sensory stimuli, sound design and stylised performances.
Alexithymia is presented as three short works: Social_function.exe is about an autistic woman who invents an artificial intelligence implant to navigate a job interview; The Curious Case of You is a game show that puts audiences’ emotional intelligence to the test; and Nirvana Syndrome follows a woman who has no desire for anything and is consequently defined by other people’s expectations.
A_tistic artistic director and Alexithymia playwright, Tom Middleditch is diagnosed on the autism spectrum – he says alexithymia can be best thought of as the distance one is from what they feel.
“Alexithymia is structured to encourage autistic thinking,” says Middleditch. “Each piece explores a theme borne from the condition, alexithymia, but the full experience only emerges once the audience starts to recognise the patterns between the short works.”
“You often hear people say we are all on the autism spectrum and by experiencing this play, audiences will not only learn about autistic thought processes, but also learn how it feels and how they may have experienced these feelings themselves.”
Director and Co-producer: Jayde Kirchert Featuring: Nicola Bowman, Keagan Vaskess, Emma Hoy Visual Designer and Co-producer: Stu Brown Dramaturge: James Matthews Sound Designer: Philip Dallas Lighting Designer: Peter Amesbury Production Assistant: Jacinta Anderson Writer and Co-producer: Tom Middleditch
Stables – Meat Market, Corner Courtney and Wreckyn Streets, North Melbourne
Season: 9 – 19 November 2017 (preview: 8 November)
Information and Bookings: www.poppyseed.net.au
Image: Keagan Vaskess (supplied)