Local actors hoping to educate public about the Americans with Disabilities Act
by James Phillips
Jul 17, 2010 | 1389 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local director Alan Woellhart couldn’t be happier with the cast of “Hello/Goodbye Ada Who?”

They show up for rehearsals, don’t create backstage drama and get excited about any line they are asked to deliver.

“They have wanted to do this from day one,” Woellhart said.

Most of the actors have disabilities and know all too well what the play is about — the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Supreme Court decisions that have diminished it.

Woellhart said they have a passion for the material that he hasn’t seen in some of his other projects.

“Our first meeting was a reading so we knew who could do what. As the play went on, we were surprised by the people who couldn’t read but all of a sudden would be saying lines and knew when to come in,” Woellhart said.

The characters in “Hello/Goodbye Ada Who?” are based on real Americans with disabilities whose civil rights were not protected after the 1990 law was passed.

One case involves an employee of the University of Alabama who claimed she faced discrimination after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that states are not required to make special accommodations for the disabled and protected the states’ immunity from being sued.

The one-act play was written by HolLynn D'Lil, a national disabilities rights advocate. It is being performed locally as part of Walker County’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ADA.

The play will debut at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the CHS Building in downtown Jasper. The choice of location is a case in point of the need to continue making public buildings more accessible for people with disabilities.

The CHS Building is the only local venue that has a wheelchair lift for the stage.

“A lot of people don’t understand that without the means to get people up on stage or to have dressing rooms to accommodate them, then they are locked out of even doing this play,” Woellhart said.