‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a disabled character written like that before’

Bridie McKim says her character Sabine is 'a lot braver than me, a lot sassier than me'.

Bridie McKim says her character Sabine is ‘a lot braver than me, a lot sassier than me’.Credit:ABC

Which is not to say McKim and Sabine’s lives are precise mirrors of each other. «I’m a triplet,» McKim says, «so I grew up with a brother and sister by my side, a big, incredible family – a little brother as well – so I think that really helped how I view myself and how I view my disability as part of my identity. CP is part of my identity, but so is being a triplet.»

Sabine, on the other hand, is the only child of a single mother. «She has this incredible mother but I think she has to work a lot harder to discover who she is and to discover her place in the community,» McKim says. «And because of that I think she’s a lot braver than me, a lot sassier than me. I also think she’s a lot cooler than I am! We’re pretty similar but we’re also different and I like that. You don’t want to always play yourself.»

Even as the industry becomes more inclusive, recognising that people with disabilities have different experiences and outlooks on life is crucial. «Now that diversity is such an important part of our industry tokenism can become a big problem as well,» McKim says. «If you’re going to create diverse characters you have to make sure they’re authentic and coming from a place of truth. Otherwise there’s no point writing them.»

And while the ABC may well be mocked for the deliberate inclusiveness of The Heights – it’s a veritable UN of nationalities – for McKim there was no downside. «I was really attracted to the project because I just heard about how diverse it was – and that the writers had really put a big effort into the scripts. I loved that it was a big cast. That it was set around a social housing tower. I just really loved how it reflected Australia. I thought, I know people like that. And you don’t necessarily always see that on Australian television.»

Indeed, the local industry still struggles with colour-blind casting. For non-Anglo actors one of the major gripes is that they only get cast when the script calls specifically for someone of a certain race. So when it comes to disabled actors, do they always have to play disabled characters? McKim thinks both sides of that coin are important.

When she was at NIDA she was often the first disabled person her teachers or fellow students had ever met. «So I think we do actually need to put a bit of effort into exploring disabled stories. And give disabled people the platform that has for so long been denied to them.»

But while she’s passionate about stories that speak directly to the disabled experience – and its variety – disabled people are, after all, just people. «I don’t see myself as just a disabled person and that’s not the only part of me I bring to my work,» she says, «so I think I would love the opportunity to play characters who aren’t disabled. Because, you know, I’m an actor!»

WHAT The Heights (premiere)

WHEN ABC, Friday (February 22), ABC, 8.30pm and iView

Источник: Theage.com.au

Источник: Corruptioner.life

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