Schools/Storytelling

Alan's school appearances are always a hit with kids. Not only do they learn a bit about living with a disability, but also they enjoy beating him at hopscotch during recess. One of Alan's biggest supporters for bringing him into the schools is MASC (Multi-Cultural Artists for Schools and Communities). The following is how MASC defines Alan's appearances, as well as a review of his show that appeared in their Spring 2002 newsletter.

Still Waiting for that Special Bus
This one man show has toured extensively across North America and Australia to critical acclaim. It takes us into the living room of a young man waiting to go out on a hot date; a young man with a disability. He worries about all the things anyone worries about before going out with someone new. Alan's particular frustration is with the Para Transpo bus - which is getting later and later. Will he ever get to his date?

Written and performed by Alan Shain, actor, writer, stand-up comic and disability activist, this play challenges many assumptions about the lives of disabled people. It is at the same time, funny, angry, tender and always very real.

Workshop
Alan Shains workshops have been bringing down the houses - and the barriers - across North America for over 10 years. Alan, who grew up with cerebral palsy, will tell stories of how he used his difference to advantage, gaining acceptance and making friends. (A 200 pound wheelchair with good brakes can make all the difference in a tug-of-war game!) His humour challenges many assumptions about the lives of people with disabilities and helps students see how they can accept and celebrate differences of all kinds.

 

MASC ARTIST EDUCATES THROUGH HUMOUR AND DRAMA IN SCHOOLS
By Barbara Rager

Last year MASC asked Alan Shain to join the organization. This year Ottawa area high school students have developed a greater awareness of issues people with disabilities face daily. They've learned not through a lecture or a book but from a live theatrical performance and workshop right in their school.

An actor, writer, comedian and disability activist, Alan Shain has created a dramatic monologue which gives the audience an hour's insight into the complex, frustrating and hilarious life he leads. "Still Waiting for that Special Bus" is a one-man show where Shain spins a marvelous tale of a young man's preparation for a 'hot' date. In real time, Shain guides us through the frantic strokes that all of us have taken in the image shattering current known as "getting ready". Shain could be any one of us: swelling with the expectation of romance, crushed with despair about his sex appeal, exploding with joy in anticipation of dancing cheek to cheek, doused with doubts about just how long his date will wait for him in the bar.

Beneath the reams of jokes, punctuated from time to time with wild yelps of ecstasy, is a message of a reality that only Shain, and others like him, can know. No matter how self reliant he has become through years of determination to live a life free from dependency on the services of others, his efforts are constantly thwarted by the inconsistent schedualing and operation of Para Transpo. He can, and brilliantly does, wrestle with his own emotional demons ("Alan, you're 33 years old, too old to be chasing women you don't know!") He takes full responsibility for himself ("Most people walk up the stairs at Barrymores, I knee up them...putting my best knee forward") From time to time with a silent chuckle, he lets himself languish in the sympathy of others, ("There I was with three women gently laying me on my bed") But when it comes to the tangle of ordering, waiting for, calling again, and waiting again which he must endure to use the Para-Transpo service, he feels reduced to the level of a small dependent child. "May I please go out tomorrow?" he pleads into the phone to the Para-Transpo dispatcher. The experience is demeaning, humiliating and ultimately threatens, once again, to ruin his plans for a very special evening. "Still Waiting for that Special Bus" is one of MASC's must-see artists' productions. In an amiable, but hard hitting and honest way, Alan Shain takes you into the life of a disabled person. The glimpse he gives you is provocative in its contrasts, gentle in its delivery and open in the vulnerability which Shain freely offers. From sharing this hour of his life, the school audience emerges with faith restored in the human spirit that meets and conquers great obstacles. Alan is grateful to MASC for providing the opportunity to perform his important work in schools. Alan performs his play for high school students and is available to give workshops for students in grade 4 through to high school.

 

Biography | Stand-Up Comedy | One Person Play | Schools/Storytelling | References

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