Emma Hutchin, Aaron Staines, Kathy Budd and Aidan Rugely from Razed Roof all went to see Mia: Daughters of Fortune by Mind The Gap. Here’s what they thought about it…
What the company trying to say? What was it about?
Emma Hutchin: To tell a story about pregnancy and parenthood and also motherhood.
Aaron Staines: I think the company is trying to get a message across in the performance. The whole show had a strong impact on both me and the whole audience. Mind the Gap put a lot of hard work into it. All the details were spot on – and to learn all that knowledge! It works to make a performance out of that. I think it is about one word,’ Down’s Syndrome’. You made it different for us- it was different for us to watch a show about people with learning difficulties and disabilities. It had a light and dark side.
Kathy Budd: All about three girls who want to be moms.
Aidan Rugeley: That there are a lot of decisions in having a child and whether a person has a learning disability or just able bodied. Everybody needs support in one way or another. Everyone is equal in their right to make a choice and to have a child. There is nothing wrong in having help.
How did it look – lighting, set, costumes?
Emma: The costume changes are great in the show. Really good lighting. I think the set was really well done in the play.
Aaron: The bit I found interesting was when there was a disco at the start of the show. I could tell that it was a disco. The lighting was very effective. It made it ‘up to date. There was modern music and old music together. I liked the costumes too. The set: they had a TV camera filming the girl sitting on the chair telling her story. I liked the use of technology. It helped me to follow the stories.
Kathy: The lighting was great. A musical. The costumes are good for this show. The set looked great on the stage.
Aidan: The set was simple but effective. The lighting, set and costumes helped to get the message across. The lights were not too much or too little. There was a wide range of colours and patterns in the show. Some of the costumes were simple but funny. There were not too many costume changes – not distracting.
How did it make you feel?
Emma: I feel unsure about the difficult decisions about being a parent with Down’s Syndrome.
Aaron: I felt like I learnt something new – I didn’t know how important it was for me. Now I know what it is about, it made me feel different about myself. I told my mum I was happy. I am proud of who I am. It means a lot to me.
Kathy: The show made me feel about learning to do great acting. I felt scared when a girl got raped in the show. It made me upset. The game show ‘Don’t drop the Baby’ was like a comedy show.
Aidan: The show made me open up on a subject which was very personal to me. It made me laugh and cry at the same time and it hit a note that hasn’t been hit before. Parenthood is a delicate subject especially for people with a learning disability.
Have you seen anything else like it?
Emma: No, it was my first time to see this performance at the Harlow Playhouse.
Aaron: I have seen the work in Ipswich when we did a conference with the Creative Mind’s project in the Jerwood Dance House. I was involved along with Aidan and Kathy. We have seen your work and so has Annette Lidster. We have seen what you did there. I haven’t seen a play about parenthood and people with learning difficulties in the theatre before.
Kathy: I don’t think so.
Aidan: No. I have seen Mind the Gap performances before but not like this. It was very well planned and thought out.
If you have seen work by the Mind the Gap Company before, was this different?
Emma: It was really different to go and see it. Also, I haven’t seen it before.
Aaron: I think it was different. This time it had a meaning to it. It had more history involved. It felt like it said what had to be said about Down’s Syndrome and having a baby.
Aidan: Yes, I have seen one performance by Mind the Gap a long time ago – ‘Boo!!’ and it was different to this but both were good in different ways.
What did you like about it?
Emma: I like the performance because they told a story about parenthood to let other people know what it is like for people with a learning disability. I like the music and dancing in the play.
Aaron: I like the bit when Mia was sitting on the chair talking about her life story. I looked at her facial expressions. I can tell the emotions. That was strong acting. It came on the TV – (that was different!) I could see how much it meant to her. I felt that.
Kathy: The show ‘Mia’ is like a musical. The young moms in the dancing to the popstars got me interested. ‘Don’t drop the Baby’ game show made me laugh.
Aidan: The show was really good. I thought the performances were good. It got the point across – of people with learning disabilities having children and the difficulties of coping with having a baby and looking after them. It was very well thought out and explained a serious subject using comedy.
What did you not like about it?
Emma: I didn’t like the ‘giving birth’ scene. But during the performance we watched a TV programme with a person with learning disability being a parent and that was interesting.
Aaron: The bit I did not like was when it went to blackout and there was screaming and the man was hurting her. He was shouting at her and then everything went quiet. I felt – ‘it’s over’. Then everything went back to normal.
Kathy: I didn’t like it when a girl got raped. When the sound like a gun happened – that scared me.
Aidan: Nothing. It made me laugh and think about things.
Would you recommend it to your friend? Why?
Emma: Yes, she would like Mind the Gap people and I would recommend the show to my friend. But …No, she wouldn’t understand about the play being about parenthood with Down’s Syndrome. She would find it upsetting.
Aaron: You have to see this. Don’t drop the baby’ is an awesome game show. It’s about how to look after a baby. They have to do a test about what to do in that situation – how to handle that situation in order to become a mum or dad. I say, ‘Yes’ – I would recommend it to my friends. I think they will be interested. It will help them to understand a lot more about it (parenthood).
Aidan: It is cutting edge. It gets to the point. It makes you think. It explains things very well. It is very well done.
What it was like for you going to see the play (was it easy to find, were the staff welcoming, was the place confusing, was it comfortable, was it too loud)?
Emma: It was good to see the play ‘Mia’ at the Harlow Playhouse. Yes, it was easy to find The Playhouse in Harlow. Harlow Playhouse staff were welcoming and polite to people. It is not a confusing place for me. It was really comfortable. It wasn’t too loud for me.
Aaron: All the staff at The Harlow Playhouse made me feel welcome. I know where the Studio Theatre is. It was comfortable. The sound levels were just right. For me, to see the show, I think was a very good idea. I would like to say to the ‘Mind the Gap ‘team. . . Well done to everyone in making this work . . . THANK YOU!
Kathy: The play was easy to find. The play was confusing for me. The play was too loud sometimes.
Aidan: The staff were very welcoming. The seats were very comfortable. The space was easy to move around in. The venue was easy to find and was accessible. The play was easy to understand. Lots of dance and movement. The music was fine – not too loud and not too soft. Lights – not too much.