BWW Readers Respond to THE KING & I Actor’s Passionate Post on Autistic …

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Broadway Actor Powerfully Defends Mom and Child Who Disturbed Production.

“The King and I” actor Kelvin Moon Loh blasted audience members on Facebook for their callous reaction to an autistic child who disrupted Wednesday’s Lincoln Center matinee. “When did we as theater people, performers and audience members become so concerned with our own experience that we lose compassion for others?” he wrote in a post, adding that the audience had “started to rally against the mother and her child to be removed.” “Perhaps, they have great days where he can sit still and not make much noise because this is a rare occurrence,” he wrote. “Perhaps she chooses to no longer live in fear, and refuses to compromise the experience of her child.” The commotion began during a “pretty intense scene” in the play’s second act when the child, whose gender Loh later said he couldn’t determine, began yelping — though the child had sat still for the first two hours and 45 minutes, Loh told the Daily News. The use of cellphones, the rustling of candy wrappers, and audible murmuring are some of the worst transgressions audience members can make during live theater performances in New York City. Amid shushes and boos, the mother tried to remove her child from the theater, but he or she gripped a railing and continued shrieking. “Not everybody out there is out to cast a judgmental eye,” he said. “There are people out there who genuinely help and would be happy to share the experience with you and your family.” Loh acknowledged that his defense of an audience interruption might seem atypical of a performer. But when a child disrupted a matinee performance of “The King and I” at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Wednesday, the woman accompanying the child found an unlikely ally.

The actor has received overwhelming social-media kudos from parents of special-needs kids, social workers, and even apologetic theatergoers accustomed to grumbling at disruptions. Apropos of his experience, Lincoln Center’s education division recently commissioned a new immersive theater production, “Up and Away,” specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum. Someone brought their autistic child to the theater.That being said — this post won’t go the way you think it will.You think I will admonish that mother for bringing a child who yelped during a quiet moment in the show.

Plainly wrong.” The actor went on to express his frustration with the audience’s response. “What they didn’t see was a mother desperately pleading with her child as he gripped the railing refusing — yelping more out of defiance. CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE IS TRYING???!!!!'” Going even further, Kelvin declared that he would happily perform the play over again if it meant that people would be less uptight and hateful in response to such a “disturbance.” In a move that we deem worthy of a standing ovation, Kelvin declared that theater is not just reserved for people who can sit quietly through shows. “I believe like Joseph Papp that theater is created for all people,” the actor concluded. “I stand by that and also for once, I am in a show that is completely FAMILY FRIENDLY. The actor responded to the slew of attention the story received in the comment section of his post, writing that he will “continue to make theater for [the mother].” “When I looked up at the curtain call and saw three empty seats where I knew they were sitting – I was heartbroken. Hopefully this inclusive, compassionate attitude spreads within the fine arts community, allowing families of all sorts to enjoy creative performances together without discrimination.

The actor told Playbill.com he’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for his stance on the incident from around the world and said he “had no idea” that he could reach so many people. He said in the Facebook post that he believed shows that have special performances for autistic audiences should be commended for their efforts and that he hoped the woman would see his post.

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