Story and Photo by Paul Long, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs Office
Professional theater group, “Theater Breaking Through Barriers” (TBTB) performed seven short plays at Commander Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka’s Benny Decker Theater, Oct. 2.
The group was in Japan (Sept. 22 to Oct 4) to participate in the 7th Annual International BIRD International Theatre Arts Festival, and Japan’s National Festival for People With Disabilities, said TBTB’s Associate Director Nicolaus Viselli. Those festivals were held in Tottori, it was the first appearance by an American Theater company at both festivals.
“For this trip we brought six members with us,” said Viselli. “What we brought to you tonight is a production called the Short Play Festival,” Viselli added.
Viselli said the plays are scripted by famous American playwrights such as Samuel Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Bruce Graham, Neil Labute, and Bekah Brunstetter.
“Some of these plays deal directly with disabilities, some of them don’t,” said Viselli. “They are all a lot of fun, so it’s not preachy. People come in with a pre-conceived notion, but when they sit in the seat and they watch the show, at the end of it they usually say, ‘Wow! That was wonderful.’”
“The vignettes were funny and great to see and they make you aware of some of the challenges that a person in a wheelchair faces or that a blind person faces,” said Donna Carter, who attended the TBTB production. “I really liked it and they looked like they were having fun up there on the stage.”
TBTB is a non-profit, off-Broadway theater company, from New York City, dedicated to the growth and development of actors and writers with disabilities and changing the appearance of people with disabilities from dependence to independence.