The real drama of Jack Hunter’s one-man play kicks in halfway through. After a meandering chat about his childhood, cheery but largely unremarkable, he plays a video of his sister Bec from 10 years ago.
At the age of 16, she is being interviewed about her campaign for better education. Her disability – she has cerebral palsy – means she needs extra support which, at the time, was not forthcoming from the council. Her honest assessment of her position, struggling to make friends, anxious to bring about simple changes to help her learn, is as touching as it is infuriating. “Teen out to prove she is more than a wheelchair,” reported the Inverness Courier.
There is a happy ending in store for her, but in the meantime, the video shifts the tone of Hunter’s performance. Now comfortable to go into darker territory, he releases an anger that is much more compelling than the slight comedy he has indulged in so far. He fulminates at the memory of a teacher who inadvertently criticised his sister’s handwriting, rages at the category of “problem child” and wryly comments on his own status as being “slightly more abled”.
Like his twin, Hunter was born with cerebral palsy and, like her, he has faced a world designed for “normies”. “The problem is conditioning,” he says, railing against ableist thinking and the way it unconsciously discriminates in favour of those without disabilities.
The shift gives the production, directed by Robert Softley Gale, a sense of purpose and political drive it is initially hesitant to explore. It doesn’t quite dispel the feeling that the real drama is happening elsewhere, nor that we could do with an extra actor on stage, but it makes a persuasive plea for change.