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Following the success of their web series Crips Without Constraints, Graeae is back with a second programme of webisodes featuring a whole host of content created by disabled writers, directors, and performers, with accessibility and inclusivity in the centre of the frame.
Good Day Bad Day revolves around an unnamed character, played by Cherylee Houston, who is sat up in bed watching TV and chatting to a duplicate of herself. Whilst the two women seem identical, it quickly becomes apparent that one of them has a positive outlook on her life, whereas the other perceives everything in a more cynical light. Throughout the play, the two women compare their experiences of the world around them and how people treat them due to their disability.
Written by Karen Featherstone, this is the fourth entry into the series and a step away from the usual narrative approach of its predecessors – which feature conversations over video chat between two separate people. The text also steps away from the theme of earlier episodes, delving into how we deal with the actions of those around us, rather than focusing on people’s misconceptions and stereotypes of disabled people. The ‘Bad Day’ approach is to choose to see things as offensive and intrusive, spurring peoples embarrassed smiles and offers of assistance. Whilst the ‘Good Day’ angle is to see the good intention behind their actions and remain self-assured.
Houston gives a splendid performance as both versions of this character, creating two distinct sides of the same person, which (besides their derision) feel genuinely akin. Directed by Alexandra Whiteley, Houston’s performance is filmed twice and pieced together to give the illusion of a dialogue – a very challenging task for an actor, but she does well to maintain pace and energy throughout, listening and responding, not just with words, but with real thought. There are some difficulties with eyelines and overlapping gestures, which do distract momentarily, but there is a rustic, filmed-from-home charm which I have come to love from lockdown performances.
In a refreshing change from the norm, all entries in the Crips Without Constraints series are fully accessible through integrated audio description and captioning – not as a secondary add on, but as an integrated part of the production process. In Good Day Bad Day, the audio description even adds to the comedy of the scene as it does with some of the other plays in the series, with more flippant remarks of the action taking place on screen.
Featherstone’s play feels like a really great addition to the content being provided by Graeae. It brings a new dimension to their already fantastic offering, whilst championing positivity and pride, something we all need right now.
Good Day Bad Day streams online until 16th February. For more information, see the Graeae YouTube channel.