‘Actual Lives’ and the Ethic of Accommodation
The first incarnation of the ‘Actual Lives’ writing and performance workshop exclusively for disabled people took place in Austin, Texas, in 1999. From 1999 to 2004, the Austin incarnation of ‘Actual Lives’ created and performed numerous different local and regional productions. The performances would expand to include multimedia and multi-character scenes. The work continues, albeit in two different locations. Austinites Chris and Celia continue working with the ‘Actual Lives’, Austin company. They are looking to conduct the workshops for disabled soldiers returning from Iraq. In US disability legal parlance, an accommodation is an adjustment made to an environment, an attitude or requirement so that a disabled person is able to participate as fully as possible in public life. Accommodation is rooted in a concept of justice and means more than passive non-discrimination; it is a concept that implies action, a requirement to make significant change to both attitudes and architecture.