Kelvin Moon Loh is acting in “The King and I” on Broadway.
He recently shared an experience where an autistic child became upset during “the whipping scene,” and the condemnation from the audience that followed.
In a public facebook post he writes:
” I ask you- when did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?…”His voice pierced the theater. The audience started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed. I heard murmurs of “why would you bring a child like that to the theater?”. This is wrong. Plainly wrong.”
“Shows that have special performances for autistic audiences should be commended for their efforts to make theater inclusive for all audiences. I believe like Joseph Papp that theater is created for all people. I stand by that and also for once, I am in a show that is completely FAMILY FRIENDLY.
Inclusion in Public Spaces
I am so glad that Moon Loh took the time to share this experience and explain his disappointment.
The experience is Necessary
What Parents can do
I cannot say whether a Broadway show with intense scenes was appropriate for this child in particular, or not, but sometimes parents do not consider the child’s needs or sensitivities and pick events badly, or stay overlong.
- How much time, intensity and excitement can my child handle in an activity without melting down?
- Is this something my child will actually enjoy?
- Are there any sensory sensitivity concerns and what can we do to prevent or lessen them?
- What calming activities/strategies do we have to decrease stress?
- What is our exit strategy should we need to leave early?
What the public can do
Get used to it, and show some compassion.
The general non disabled/neurotypical public still marginalizes disability.
“The King and I on Broadway is just that- FAMILY FRIENDLY- and that means entire families- with disabilities or not. Not only for special performances but for all performances. A night at the theater is special on any night you get to go.”