Tuesday, May 15, 2012
As Amy Cuomo’s play “Happy” nears its end two of the characters finally realize the truth: their disabled brother is “very, very smart.”
He’s in a wheelchair and he can’t speak. Yet his mind is so sharp that he’s been accepted into MIT.
The three-character, 10-minute play has been named one of the winners of Fusion Theatre Company's Seventh Annual New Works Festival, "The Seven: Nothing Is As It Seems." The play, along with six other winners, will be produced during the annual celebration of theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico June 7-10.
It was chosen from among more than 700 submissions, said Cuomo, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of West Georgia.
“It was very competitive. Getting your work produced is so hard because there are so many writers and so few opportunities. It’s a chance to have your work seen by a lot of people,” said Cuomo, who has booked her flight to New Mexico to see the professional production of her play.
Cuomo was inspired by her students to write the short work. During a lesson on improvisation one student turned to her classmate, who had cerebral palsy.
"She said 'Dance with me, Kurt.' And she took his hands and she danced with him, and she twirled his wheelchair. It was probably one of the most amazing experiences in my classroom. The play comes out of that transcendent moment," said Cuomo, a native of Newport News, Va.
The play explores the relationship between the brother, Happy, and his two sisters, Trisha and Kyra, who come home after their mother becomes ill and later dies.
“We see him as his mother sees him – able to move, able to speak and able to do anything he wants to do,” Cuomo said. “He sees himself as totally competent. He sees himself as powerful. He’s charming and he knows he’s charming.”
For more on the Fusion Theatre Company's Seventh Annual New Works Festival go to http://www.fusionabq.org/theseven.htm.