Ableism, or discrimination towards individuals with disabilities, is pervasive in our society. The entertainment world and the media are largely responsible for shaping the way the general public views minority groups. The topic of disability is incredibly popular on screen and stage, but very few actors and writers with disabilities are being hired in comparison to the amount of work that is being produced on the topic. A startling percentage of best actor/actress Oscar winners have won for portraying a character with a disability of some kind, but only two actors with the same disabilities as their characters have been awarded. In discussions about diversity, the issue of disability representation is often overlooked. When stories about disability are told from an ableist perspective, there are various harmful tropes that commonly arise. These tropes and trends writers fall into can have a negative effect on the lives of people living with disabilities. True disability representation in entertainment calls for platforms for writers, artists and actors with disability to have voices.
As a writer with a newfound physical disability, I wanted to write a play that indirectly captured my experience and educated my audience. I was able to incorporate knowledge I gained from research with my personal experience to write my play, titled The Tragedy Zone . By giving the audience the opportunity to see microaggressions through the lens of someone with a newfound disability, the play aims to educate them on the impact tiny ableist interactions can have on relationships and individuals.
Sumner, Linnea, "The Tragedy Zone: Ableism in Entertainment" (2018). Honors College Theses. 190.