AWESOME! I’m Included

Posted by Mario Bonds on February 13, 2018

Entertainment & Arts

A few nights a week, I wear headphones and get lost in the world of Hollywood sound and action. I jet down the street in fast-pace action films, ride on the shoulders of warriors in films of heroism, and bask in the light of sentimental piety in dramatizations, and although I can’t see, I know everything that’s happening. Why? Because someone in Hollywood realized that access and inclusion for the disabled community was needed. Woven into the audio track of Descriptive Video movies are professional descriptions of scenery, props, facial expressions, costumes and action, enabling me to completely enjoy a Hollywood film, without assistance from anyone around me. What would this look like in the arts and theater? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I am the biggest advocate of accessibility, for selfish reasons of course. As a totally blind consumer, I am grateful to live in a country that embraces accessibility and inclusion for technology, transportation, public conveyances, buildings and so much more. Sure, I’m able to independently use a talking computer, get access to public transportation with my service animal, ask for written materials in alternative formats and more, but, with the arts being my first love, I crave the day where accessibility and inclusion in the arts will be as automatic as Microsoft insuring its systems are compatible with software for the visually impaired. What a joy it is to go to a theater that can offer me a fully accessible experience with live, professional descriptions of everything I need to know about a production, and I no longer have to rely on the inexpert descriptions of my teenage brother. To leave an event with the ability to fully appreciate costumes, props, facial expression, and the beauty of the set is what I love best about places that strive to include the disabled.

The Imagination Stage, located in Bethesda, MD, is a place where persons with disabilities, whether visual, sensory or otherwise, can come and feel as a part of the theater as the next consumer. This is why I am so excited about the relationship developed between this organization and me. My number one passion is giving back art experiences to persons with disabilities, so that we too can experience the magic and often life-changing effects of music, theater and more. Whether therapeutic, inspiring, or just simply entertaining, the arts have healing powers, and the disabled community must not miss out on the remedy called music and arts. This philosophy is one that I believe should be true for disabled persons whether they are participating in the arts as a performer, or just a consumer. At the Imagination Stage, it’s awesome that I’m included.

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