Aphasic Drama Group

“Don’t Have a Stroke on a Friday Night” is a play developed with community members who have Aphasia resulting from stroke, as well as students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Department of Theatre and Dance, and the Linguistics Program at the University of South Carolina. The play will be presented on Monday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the Booker T. Washington Lab Theatre in Columbia. SC Humanities supported the Aphasic Drama Group with a Mini Grant.

The University of South Carolina hosted a drama class for people in the Columbia area suffering from aphasia, a disorder of language caused by brain damage (often from a stroke). They proposed that participation in a community performance would help boost self-confidence and perhaps improve language abilities for people suffering from this condition. The drama group met weekly from January – May 2019.

The text of “Don’t Have a Stroke on a Friday Night” originates from interviews and scenes developed during the course of the weekly theatre workshops. The play highlights the actors’ experiences with stroke, strength, and resiliency. It also reveals how quickly lives can change and how quickly people can feel marginalized. The performance will be followed by a discussion of the role of artistic performance in quality of life of people with disabilities, particularly from the perspective of art theory and art criticism.

The Project Director, Dirk Den Ouden, an Associate Professor if the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, said: “I think this has been a transforming experience for all participants, the actors, the organizers, and the students involved. Working towards the theatrical production, we have all been educated about strengths and sometimes struggles of speakers who have aphasia, as well as about the power of dramatic expression and how theater is so much more than just words. It was very interesting, theatrically, to discover different ways of working around some actors’ difficulty with spoken text and to play to their strengths. These often lie in very clever means of expression, using mimicry, movement and other tools!”

More info about the play:
When: May 6 at 7:00 pm
Where: Booker T. Washington Lab Theatre (1400 Wheat St, Columbia, SC)
How Much: It’s FREE and open to the public
Info: 803-777-9241

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.