Ten years ago Kaite O’Reilly first told me about her project ‘the ‘d’ monologues’. At the time, to me, she was just a friend of my mum’s. I didn’t know anything about her work or her position in both the disabled and mainstream creative industries. I was a twelve year old who wanted to be an actor, being offered a part in this project. I didn’t need to see Kaite’s CV to know that I wanted to be involved. The next year rehearsed readings of these monologues were performed at the National Theatre Studio, Cardiff Disability Pride, Hijinx Unity Festival and the Wales Millennium Centre. Performances that I remember vividly. My first experience of performing theatre was with Striking Attitudesin 2005. But it was ‘the ‘d’ monologues’that truly sparked my passion for the theatre and for acting.
Over the past year I have graduated university and began my career as an actor and writer. Working with Told By An Idiot and gaining representation from Shelley Norton Management, both brilliant opportunities. This next experience promises to be just as exciting. I’m really looking forward to being able to perform Kaite’s words, to be directed by Phillip Zarrilli and to act alongside my mum again – all for the first time since those rehearsed readings in 2009.
‘And Suddenly I Disappear’ is the latest regeneration of ‘the ‘d’ monologues’. Yet again finding new ways to observe disability culture and disabled peoples’ role in society, this time not all about British society, but Singapore, too. It has been fascinating for me to learn more about Singapore, and the lives and history of its disabled population. I can’t wait to work with Grace Khoo and Peter Sau; to hear their stories, watch how their experiences inspire their performances. I can’t mention some of the cast without mentioning the rest… Of course I am as equally excited to work with Ramesh Meyyappan, Garry Robson, and Sara Beer (my mum).
The tour of the show begins in London at the Southbank Centre as part of Unlimited festival 5-6 September, and finishes in Cardiff at Chapter Arts Centre 11 – 12 September. Going to the Southbank and performing there will be incredible I’m sure, but to finish the tour in my hometown is something I’m really looking forward to. I’ve always known Cardiff as such a hub of creativity. It’s a great environment to live in, and a great one to grow up in. For me now to be able to contribute something towards Cardiff’s creative world feels very special to me.
Working with a director like Phillip Zarrilli is something I hope every actor is given the chance to do. I know that I can count myself extremely lucky to be able to do so, so early on in my career. The process has been a great learning experience. Also, I feel lucky to be involved in a project that allows me to explore my own disability, my viewpoint towards it, and its role in society. It’s been thirty or so years since the rise of the disability rights movement. It is a movement that goes on today – “the campaign continues” – new voices will always be shouting to be heard. I hope that in the near future new disabled voices are given the recognition and respect they deserve. Perhaps I’ll be one of them.
All in all, I am beyond excited to get the show on the road, have it seen by as many people as possible, and open up the conversation on disability to some new eyes and ears. We hope you’ll be there to join us.
And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologuesis a multilingual international
dialogue about difference and what it is to be human. Fictional monologues in a wide variety of form, all written by Kaite O’Reilly, are inspired by interviews and conversations with people in Singapore and across the UK.
And Suddenly I Disappear: The Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues trailer
11 – 12 September 8pm. Chapter Arts Centre www.chapter.org
Biog: Macsen McKay is a Cardiff born and based 22 year old actor/writer. He graduated from the University of the West of England in July 2017 and was immediately cast in Told By An Idiot’s ‘Let Me Play The Lion Too’at the Barbican Centre. Macsen’s latest writing can be seen in ‘YADDA magazine’, a new online publication by young people, for young people.