24 November, 2009

Preview: "Cast Offs"


"A darkly comic drama series telling the story of six disabled characters sent to a remote British island for a fictional reality TV show."

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Jack Thorne, co-writer:

"One island. Three months. Six disabled people. Tom, Dan, April, Gabby, Carrie and Will are adventurers of our modern age. Ambassadors selected by a TV company –we will follow their journey as they attempt to harvest crops, rear pigs, deliver babies and save chickens.

Do blind people know how attractive someone is? And if so, how? Amir, a cheeky chappy from Glasgow and profoundly blind, certainly claims so. In his audition with us he describes himself as a bit of a ladies man. In fact, a bit of a shark. We ask the obvious question – how do you know who’s attractive and who isn’t, i.e. how do you know who you want to shark? “Oh, I know” Amir replies. “OK” says Miranda, our director, “what do I look like?” Amir smiles, “size 12, long hair, full lips, and do you want me to say your bra size because I have a pretty good idea?” Miranda laughs. Yeah. He’s got a pretty good idea of what she looks like. Amir is clearly a bit of a magician.

In contrast, Alex Bulmer, my co-writer on Cast-Offs and a close friend, has absolutely no idea what I look like. Like Amir, she was born with sight, so if you give her information she can compute it, she knows what the colour red is, she knows what grass looks like. But during one of our final read-throughs she started reeling off her impression of what I looked like and went for her own version of Pre-Raphaelite poet. Long-dark hair. Slightly girly. Moderately attractive. Nothing like the gangly balding geek-t-shirt wearing freak I actually am.

So why did Amir seem to get it right and Alex not? I don’t know. Maybe it’s something in a voice. Maybe Amir wanted her to look like that and got lucky. Maybe Alex doesn't care what people actually look like, but prefers to design them in her mind however she chooses. What I do know is that blind people aren’t that into touching faces. Amir would probably touch anything to be fair to the guy but when we got Tim Gebbels, our extremely funny blind lead in the show, to touch one of the other actor’s faces, he acted in revulsion. It turns out Lionel Ritchie got his research wrong and that touching someone’s face would do nothing for Tim, blind more or less since birth; he’d really rather not.

The reason why I start with these examples is because every single time the responses we got surprised me, and that’s what Cast-Offs is trying to represent. Surprising stories about disabled people. In fact, more than that, surprising stories about people. "

Article in full at WGGB

Jack Thorne article, The Independent

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Previews

The Times

The Independent

The Guardian

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Interviews

Tony Roche, Alex Bulmer and Jack Thorne, The Arts Desk

Jack Thorne, Disability Arts Online

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Cast Offs
Tuesdays and Wednesdays,
11:05pm for 6 episodes

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