Pros: Candid and resounding.
Cons: This show deserves a bigger audience.
Anders Lee’s background as a comedian comes across distinctly in Dummy, although this is not quite the show one might expect. The jokes are there, as well as some awkward private revelations and a little interaction with the room. Yet, in his new work, Lee is promoting a socio-political message that is strongly relevant in our evolved civilisation.
Diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder as a child, Lee is now a grown-up, and can finally put into perspective some of the educational choices and social restrictions he has faced – from attending a school for children with special needs to picking up, with time, all the social cues that he needs to follow to avoid standing out, despite these not coming naturally to him.
Candidly sharing his personal experience of building friendships, dating and trying to do all the things that ‘everyone else’ does, this compelling storyteller demonstrates that learning and interpreting information differently doesn’t mean doing it wrong. Instead, it is our modern understanding of social rules and the excessive diagnosis of the last decades that labels what is normal and what is considered a symptom of autism. “The diagnosis makes you autistic,” he says. “No other external factor.”
Meanwhile, unnecessary politics and institutional policies seem to rule who receives fair access to education, with little or no regard for each individual case. It’s the system that decides, with its set of conventional norms, who is ‘neuro-diverse’ and who is ‘neuro-typical’, regardless of how the people concerned feel about themselves.
I am grateful to Lee for bringing this tell-all show on stage. Autism is a poorly understood condition that carries lots of cultural implications, and it is thanks to dedicated people like Lee that we can fight ignorance and acquire a more open-minded approach.
Written and Performed By: Anders Lee
Producer: Anders Lee / PBH’s Free Fringe
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dummy
Booking Until: 25 August 2018