Idiots offers an absurdist retelling of the life of Dostoyevsky and the narrative of his novel The Idiot. It opens with the fictive setting of a council estate in purgatory where the epileptic writer has been claiming disability allowance for 150 years. The topicality of the ‘scroungers’ debate, with welfare reforms forcing disabled people to jump through more and more administrative hoops to ‘prove’ their disability, is here mined for comedy; the suited Bureaucrat tuts over his clipboard as the manic Fyodor attempts to feign seizures. Although this 21st century theme loses prominence as the piece continues, it does connect Idiots with the wider conversation on benefits and living with disability in modern Britain. These issues are at the heart of work by artists such as Romina Puma, Touretteshero and Lost Voice Guy, and taken up by disabled activists such as Liz Carr (part of TSOTF events programme). (HM)
IDIOTS, Caligula’s Alibi, Pleasance Courtyard (Beside), until August 31st. Wheelchair Access, Level Access, Hearing Loop available.
More on Caligula’s Alibi
In-depth analysis of Dostoyevsky’s epilepsy from ScienceBlogs
Diagnosis of Romina Puma’s Not Disabled… Enough
Lost Voice Guy
On disability benefits and ‘proof’
Interview with Liz Carr in The Guardian. Liz’s talk ‘Rather Dead Than Disabled’ will be a TSOTF main event on Aug 28.