Best of Q: Why we need more disabled actors on screen

New York playwright Christopher Shinn says we must challenge our fear of disability.

Christopher Shinn joins guest host Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss his view that movie and TV characters with disabilities should be played by actors who themselves have disabilities. The acclaimed New York playwright, who began using a prosthetic limb last year, argues that able-bodied actors don't understand the lived reality of disability, and that casting them as disabled people actually undercuts the power of their work.

More generally, Shinn says we must challenge our cultural fear of disability and interrogate our use of disability as a metaphor, rather than something that affects real people on a daily basis.

Click on the listen button above to hear the full segment (audio runs 18:39) or watch three actors with disabilities at work in the windows embedded below. 

RJ Mitte (Walter "Flynn" White Jr.) in Breaking Bad:

Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) in Game of Thrones: 

Gabrielle Marion-Rivard in Gabrielle: 

Original segment aired July 30, 2014


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