Graham Isador has a degenerative eye disease. Because there are no visual identifiers for the condition, people don’t think he’s losing his sight. They think he’s an asshole. Blending experimental music and comedic storytelling, Short Sighted is an attempt to explain vision loss using sound.
I met Graham a few years ago at a theatre festival where he was performing, and have been following his career since. Over the past couple of years, he has been sharing about living with this degenerative eye disease… how it has impacted his day-to-day life as well as his work. Hence, my interest in Short Sighted.
I reached out to Graham about the upcoming performace as part of the Greenhouse Festival in Toronto this week. Below, he gives us three (3) reasons why we should watch and support the show.
3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Short Sighted
1) There is a history of high quality work.
It’s been almost five years since I’ve performed a show, but the Toronto Guardian has referred to me as a “Master Storyteller” (a pull quote I’ll use until the day I die). Joining me on stage are Adam Lazarus — who created and performed the smash hit show “Daughter” named best show at the Edinburgh Fringe — and Dora Award winning sound designer Ron Kelly.
2) There is a television tie in.
Well, kind of. My play deals is a comedy about navigating my vision loss. I also served as a writer for Sight Unseen, a new CTV drama premiering January 22nd. That show deals with the fallout of a police detective after being diagnosed as clinically blind.
Last year, I left a new job after realizing my eyesight meant I wouldn’t be properly trained for the position. The job I got afterward tried to let me go because my vision meant I wouldn’t be able to efficiently use one of their preferred programs. It was a trying time that I wrote about in an essay for Toronto Life. That essay led to both the theatre project and TV show. It’s not something I ever could have predicted but I’m very grateful.
3) Money from the show is going to help the blind community.
While it’s caused me issues, my vision loss is minor relative to any legally blind person. Not that things are a competition, but I’m very aware that being given a platform to talk about this stuff is a real opportunity. I recently made donation on behalf of the show to BALANCE, and will be putting my fee from the program towards a scholarship for blind/low-vision folks looking to get into journalism. The scholarship will be launching later this year alongside another project I’m not allowed to talk about yet.
The Greenhouse Festival is a process-led residency program, focussed on growing vibrant, theatrical ideas and facilitating exchange between artists and audience. As audience members, we are encouraged to explore new parts of the Tarragon Theatre as a space. The festival will also feature two other perfomances, studio activations, free readings from Tarragon Artists in Residence, a special presentation, and an art installation.
Tickets for the Greenhouse Festival are quite affordable and can be purchased for Single Show performances, or through a Festival Pass. For full festival listings, schedule and tickets, please go to tarragontheatre.com.