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“SUPER DISCOUNT explodes all sorts of cosy assumptions about disability and dredges to the surface the critical process behind its own making…. Who will be cast as Mark? How will the performer enact the role to be true to the physical reality of his disability? Is it wrong for a performer without disability to impersonate someone with one?


Image: Jeff Busby

As auditions for the part proceed, conducted by a choreographer with an ‘80s pop culture obsession (Brian Tilley), a scoreboard racks up points for the light side and the dark.

For the dark side, David Woods lets slip the ‘R’ word, suggests it’s cruel to mock people with disability, and complains about all the attention going to disabled performers at his expense. He convincingly simulates intellectual disability, points out the pure escapism of the superhero premise, and gradually turns into a super-villain.

For the light, Simon Laherty and Scott Price, as well as Mark Deans himself, have a more difficult time. A superhero is condemned to loneliness, must have a weakness that can be exploited, and can’t resort to dirty tricks.

Resilience and dignity are difficult qualities to present theatrically. Not as spectacular as towering rage or manipulative argument, are they? But they’re the foundation that underpins this occasionally goofy but always challenging and richly articulated show, and the vexed question of how to attain and maintain them.”

Cameron Woodhead, The Age

Directed, devised and designed by Bruce Gladwin

Devised by the Back to Back Theatre Ensemble & David Woods

Lighting Design by Andrew Livingston

Costume Design by Shio Otani

Choreography by Antony Hamilton

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