2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington

2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington
Nicole Martini

The "Joys" of Being In A Wheelchair and Performing Onstage

Currently I am in a variety show/cabaret show. For those who probably don't know I was a theatre actor for about 15 years before deciding to take another path in acting. I ventured into Voice-Over. The rejection and narrow-mindedness got to a point where I couldn't get ANY roles, but instead got a whole  mess of excuses from directors. I'm sorry, but you don't want to cast me because you don't have a ramp is an Extremely lame and FALSE excuse to NOT cast a person in a wheelchair. It's very simple to make a ramp.To be completely honest with you it would be so much better if you were blunt and upfront whether it is because of the chair or not, but please do NOT lie to us to "not hurt our feelings". Personally I can see past the BS and it hurts my feelings to be lied to. I am sure a lot of other people can see past all the excuses as well.
Anyway, to get back to the current show I am in which only has a total of 4 performances, (1 down 3 to go). I truly appreciate that everyone is willing to make the theatre backstage area work which is not wheelchair accessible, which means being carried up and down steps to get to and from the stage. I do not like it at all, but hey, I'm not going to quit if they are willing to make it work as a team. The problem I do have is that it is really getting on my nerves that some of the backstage crew is taking it upon themselves to practically push me on stage at inappropriate times (when I am not supposed to to be onstage). If I am trying to physically stop you from wheeling me onto stage please respect that and don't do it. I do know when I am supposed to be up there or waiting in the wings. If you are not dancing with me on stage or lifting me up/down steps please hands off my chair. To tell you the truth it's just makes those people who think I should be up there or in the front for everyone to see look bad. Don't get me wrong I do appreciate they are trying to help but PLEASE ASK before doing something like this, I do take performing seriously even if it is on a community level. Acting is something I have done at a semi-professional level and I do take it serious.
This is my current complaint, but all in all I am having a Great time with great folks and would LOVE to continue performing!!! Not going to let stupid stuff discourage me from my passions in life.