• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Review: Disciples

ByEmily Moffett

Oct 11, 2023
Four actors stretch their left arms into the sky

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disciples welcomes its audience to a sensory experience — full of color, dance, and sound. This imaginative show is an earnest celebration of movement and the body. Disciples sets out to celebrate those who are often left uncelebrated, and the show very much meets this joyous goal. Five performers (all women and non-binary people) with different disabilities display their incredible talents and star power. They dance, they speak poetry, and they dazzle the audience. While Disciples has its weaknesses, the show overall is a success. 

The most powerful sections of Disciples are moments of unity and connection between the performers — especially towards the show’s conclusion, when the five performers dance in tandem. I found myself constantly engaged and attentive during these scenes of synchronic performance. In a question-and-answer session after the show, Rachel Drazek (director) and Ellen Renton (writer) talked extensively about the idea of ‘taking up space.’ When the show is at its most riveting, the talented cast masterfully take up stage space. They are watched, listened to, and assert a strong, empowering message. 

A special mention must go to cast member Sally Clay. Not only does she move and dance onstage with sensitivity and emotion, she also graces the stage with beautiful music. As a blind musician and graduate of Trinity College of Music, she is a mesmerizing performer to watch. She sings, plays the ukulele and the harp with finesse. 

However, the show undoubtedly has its weaknesses. Towards the middle of the show, the movement feels too static. Because of the slow and disconnected movement from the performers, the whole section is lethargic and incohesive. The lack of activity and the relaxing music in the background is sure to make certain audience members (such as myself) lose focus and give in to end-of-the-day tiredness. 

Moreover, the interpretive dance of the show is accompanied by spoken word poetry. At first, the poetry seems arbitrary, unnecessarily hard to understand, and elusive. That said, as the show progresses the poetry very much improves. It becomes accessible, poignant, and beautiful. The show’s final line of poetry is nothing short of masterful. While I feel the earlier spoken poetry could have been improved, the poetry towards the show’s end is a testament to Renton’s genius. 

Disciples explores heartfelt themes of faith, power, and community. The five performers shine on stage, supporting each other and connecting with the audience in profound ways. This intersectional show proudly proclaims that all bodies are beautiful, worthy, and capable of infinite talents.

Image ‘Irina Vartopeanu, Rana Bader, Laura Fisher and Emma McCaffrey in Disciples by Stellar Quines’ Image credit by Mihaela Bodlovic provided via Press Release