"In Their Words," an original play featuring monologues, music and comedy that focuses on experiences of individuals with disabilities, will be performed Oct. 18 to 20 in the Black Box Theatre in Joppa Hall at Harford Community College, 401 Thomas Run Road in Bel Air.
The play is being held in October, in recognition of Maryland's Disability History and Awareness Month.
The idea for the play originated last year when Harford Community College students, faculty, staff and other community members were invited to submit stories anonymously about the triumphs and challenges in dealing with a disability. Dawn Volkart, a student development specialist in the college's Disability & Student Intervention Services Department, spearheaded the project.
Volkart, a clinical social worker who also spent more than 20 years in New York as an actress and playwright, wrote the script for "In Their Words." The play focuses on topics such as frustration with non-disabled people parking in a handicapped space, hearing impairment/mishearing, dyslexia, the view of those in a wheelchair, PTSD plus depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, panic disorder and more.
"The monologues are inspirational, heartbreaking and funny," Volkart said. "Our hope is that this play can do for people with disabilities what the 'Vagina Monologues' have done to stop violence against women."
Directing the play is Ray Barcia, a former actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England who has directed productions in London, New York and Baltimore. The cast is made up of six actors — several of whom are students at Harford Community College.
"In Their Words" will be performed Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. A matinee at 3 p.m. will be held on Sunday, Oct. 20, and will include a meet and greet with the cast after the performance and a discussion on disabilities.
Tickets to the play cost $8 per person in advance and $10 at the door (space available). Tickets may be purchased in advance online at harford.edu/intheirwords. For more information, visit the web site or call 443-412-2452.
Ticket sales will be donated to the Cindy Conroy Memorial Scholarship at Harford Community College. Conroy, a longtime employee of the college who worked in several offices including Disability Support Services, died in 2011. An annual $1,000 scholarship, which may be used for tuition and/or books, is awarded yearly to a student who may be using the college's Disability & Student Intervention Services Department and/or those in the education curriculum.
Funding for the play comes from a $1,850 grant from the Harford Community College Foundation's Grants for Innovation Program. This program supports project proposals from the campus community that fall outside of regularly budgeted areas. The projects selected for funding serve the needs of students, have a broad impact and produce a tangible result, such as a new initiative or workshop, or in this case — a theatrical production about the experiences, triumphs, challenges and successes of individuals with disabilities.