Saturday, January 26, 2008

John Belluso play at Public Theater in NYC March 8-23

(Note: I consider theater to be a peripheral part of the "media" world because so much theater ends up on film and TV, so I will occasionally include it on this blog.)

John Belluso's "The Poor Itch" will be at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette, in New York, N.Y., March 8-23. Belluso, who died at the age of 36 in 2006, was an up-and-coming playwright who addressed themes of disability in his work.

Belluso, who used a wheelchair, told the San Francisco Observer that having a disability gave him understanding of what he needed to do to be a playwright. “Finding the balance between participating and observing is really the key to being a good writer and a happy person,” he told the San Francisco Observer in 2005. “My disability has done nothing but help me understand that process.”

He explained to the Observer that disability would remain a theme in his work. “It is an experience that shapes my life and view of the world, and a topic that I find endlessly fascinating because there is that universal element… It is the one minority class in which anyone can become a member of at any time.”

Belluso had just begun readings of "The Poor Itch" at the time of his death. It is about a timely subject -- an injured soldier who returns home from Iraq. For tickets, visit:

I saw Belluso's "The Rules of Charity" by the Theater by the Blind ( in 2007 and it was a fantastic production. That play focuses on an older gay man with cerebral palsy and his daughter who resents assisting him. It is a powerful play and addresses important themes that I believe resonated so clearly because Belluso honestly portrayed a lived experience of disability in the play. There's no sugar-coating or putting a disabled person up on a pedestal -- just authentic people who love, laugh, cry and hurt like everyone else.

Here's the NY Times obituary about Belluso: