Exposure: work in progress showing about living with disability
“I always had an idea of it in the back of my head. I’ve been giving lectures and talks about my life since I was about three months old. My parents would take me around. And so it’s always been kind of a part of my life,” says Mathew Purinton of his new play Exposure, which he is presenting a 40-minute work-in-progress showing at the Performance Garage on Friday, May 20th and Saturday May 21st at 7:30pm.
Purinton was born with the rare genetic disorder of TAR syndrome, and Exposure explores his life story. This weekend’s live performance is a the culmination of ten weeks of rehearsal working with a number of Pig Iron School trained performers and collaborators. In rehearsal, artists of mixed physical abilities created scenes through a series of improvisational exercises and use dance, movement, and acrobatics as a jumping-off point for telling the physical and visceral stories of Purinton’s life.
During the rehearsal process the performers explored different ways to immerse the audience in the performance and give them an opportunity to experience what it’s like to live with a disability.
Instead of writing a traditional memoir-type play, Purinton was interested in developing the work using devised theater methods and developing a movement vocabulary from various disciplines that would also be integral to to work. Explains co-producer Nick Jonczak, “In 2015, Matt Purinton and Kermit Cole approached Pig Iron Theatre Company co-artistic director Quinn Bauriedel about creating a play based on the extraordinary experiences of Matt’s life. Quinn introduced Matt and Kermit to Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training 2015 alumna Michaela Moore who joined the project as director.” In turn, that led to the inclusion of a number of other Pig Iron School alumni in the productions including Caitlin Antram, Giovany Barrera, Ben Grinberg, Lauren Harries, Bronwyn Sims, and Alice Yorke.
“I have no experience in theater whatsoever, like literally none.” Purinton says of the process. “I’ve been to some theater shows, that’s it. I’ve never been a performer. So it’s been really great to work with everybody and just trust their instincts and their knowledge and to watch them work. It’s been really humbling to see their passion for the project and see what they’re able to do with the stories from my life and turn them into beautiful works of art.”
Following each performance is a 20-minute community conversation centered on the work of artists with disabilities, the role of art to help increase visibility and support for people with disabilities.
May 20th and Saturday May 21st at 7:30pm
1515 Brandywine Street
For tickets: exposure.ticketleap.com
More info: www.exposuretheplay.com