Recently, the spotlight has been shining on characters who represent the special needs community in theatrical productions. Plays such as “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night,” have increased social awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ellen Carmen Greenhill hopes to achieve such success with her play, “Plastic Figurines.”
Greenhill has first-hand experience caring for someone on the spectrum, who happens to be her brother. Drawing on her personal memories, she’s used her story to create a wonderful work of art detailing what life has been like, both from the autistic mind of her brother and as her caretaker role.
The play focuses on a girl named Rose. Following the death of her mother, the young woman takes custody of her 18-year-old brother Michael, who has ASD. The story follows their relationship as they overcome obstacles thrown at them via familial grief, stigmatism, and the daily joys and struggles that autism brings.
In developing her work, Greenhill has created a masterpiece that is at once authentically informative and emotionally touching. She presents autism in an upfront manner, but takes care to discuss the wonderful quirks it can add to daily life. Reviews have stated that her unique perspective has “enabled her to write lightly about autism without taking autism lightly.”
By Sara Power, Fordham University