Ushiku Crisafulli and The Peer Hat presents: Unmasked – a journey through the autistic mind via hip hop, comedy and theatre.
On Tuesday 21st September I’ll be doing a scratch performance of my piece Unmasked which exams concepts around autistic authenticity through comedy, theatrical monologues and hip hop at The Peer Hat.
As it is an early scratch performance ahead of the full preview at Old Bank Studios in April 2022 I’ll be supported by a group of fantastic performers.
In hour 1 we’ll be joined by Loll a passionate poet and excellent barber whose spoken word is just a cut above; and Tonkabell Manchester’s favourite non-binary fairy whose words capture a range of emotions from the importance of sharing to the weirdest of love.
In hour 2 we’ll have comedy from a comic that might just be too cool in Kieran “Keesh” Grey and a fantastic comic storyteller and Camden Town Brewery New Act Comedy finalist in Justina Sesel; followed by a trip through childhood via the musical musings of Jonny Holland who first came to my attention when I saw him doing sick metal riffs to Sonic the Hedgehog
Today is the first day I’ve gone without a prompt. Essentially it’s because a great development opportunity is available but it’s also one that would potentially fuck my shit up in terms of going beyond what is deemed permitted work.
This development opportunity is designed around providing a ladder up for those with disabilities and from lower socio-economic brackets.
However I have made it known that current DWP rules essentially great an aspiration premium whereby opportunities for advancement act as an aspiration premium.
This isn’t new to me. In 2008 after getting into Manchester University for my 1st attempt at a university education (which was plagued with mental health struggles) I went 3 months between signing up for uni to starting at uni without money because I was classed as student… completely ignorant of the fact I at that time had an insecure tenancy due to it’s infancy after spending the prior year homeless and on top of that having no money to in benefits to live off. This also meant no housing benefit either which meant I’d start university with 3 months of rent arrears.
This new opportunity years later after a year out of work as a chef due to Covid would double what’s deemed as permitted work. I believe opportunities designed to support the most vulnerable in society should also acknowledge the systemic barriers that mean the support offered to such people shouldn’t fuck their shit up. Be creative. Give half as a salary and half as a grant. Split one offer between two people in the same boat with the permitted work situation… £6500 of £13,000 is sure as hell better than £0 which is what I’ve had as a chef for the last year.
For years I was embarrassed of being on ESA, of my disability, and of my mental health struggles.
But now I offer a fuck you to the system and society that made me feel that way… I, am the hammer!
Today’s official prompt of using a Shakespearian insult or even those from Skeletor just didn’t sit right with me. Not when I’ve got a rich history of inventive and highly personalised barbs. When you mix two parts wrestling fan with five parts Mancunian you’re guaranteed a silver tongue that can shimmer as brightly as it’s slices are deadly.
So here’s a story from September 2007 on the 216 bus when an interloper was unclear which of my companions he was referring to.