Actor with autism featured in Inclusive Theater's debut production
Buffalo News - 10/23/2018
Oct. 23--Jessica Levesque is a new star in Buffalo and her mother couldn't be happier.
It's one of the things Aimee Levesque envisioned almost three years ago when she created Inclusive Theater of WNY.
The nonprofit theater group formed to reimagine society through original scripts, ongoing writing groups, acting workshops and production training open to all.
Levesque sought to create a space where diversity is common, differences celebrated, and all are viewed as contributing members of society.
This is a theater group, too, after all, so drama, comedy, intrigue and passion also are part of the mix.
Take "And Where Will You Put the Things You Save?," the troupe's debut production, which runs through this weekend at Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley.
Buffalo playwright Baroness von Smith asked to write the script for Inclusive Theater.
"Disability is a part of the story but it's not the crux," Aimee Levesque said. "It's more the pieces of life that we all go through."
Levesque teaches English at SUNY Buffalo State and has been an independent disability consultant for 20 years.
Jessica, 25, her only child, has high-functioning autism and is a program participant in People Inc.'s Self-Directed Services. She makes jewelry, takes acting classes and is involved in special needs advocacy.
She also is one of three actors in the Inclusive Theater inaugural production. Her character, Ericka Moeright -- "this cute little Roller Derby Girl," according to her mother -- decides to have a magnet implanted into one of her fingers, a biohacking decision that will allow others to monitor her movements, which concerns her brother, Nick, and Nick's fiancé, Alex Rubens.
Accomplished Buffalo actors Steve Brachmann and John Profeta play the brother and fiancé, respectively.
Nick has been injured in an accident and all three are learning to navigate their new environment as he recovers.
Jessica Levesque took a bit longer to learn her lines, her mother said, "but she is holding her own." She's also learned all the lines in the play, as well as cues from her fellow actors. Local actors who came to the show last week complimented her performance.
"Getting extra support was worth it," Aimee Levesque said, "and she's loving every minute of it."
Performances continue at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and conclude at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Those who attend the Thursday performance can pay what they can afford. For other performances, general admission tickets cost $25, or $20 for students and senior citizens. To buy tickets or for more information, visit inclusivetheaterofwny.com.
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