Funny As A Crutch

nine accessible comedies
by Rich Orloff

Cast: 3+ M, 2+ W

“Many, many pleasures!  Rich Orloff’s witty, unpredictable script fends off pity and preachiness with a daffy sense of humor.”
– The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

“A unique theatrical experience.  This delightful program packs in about a dozen laughs per square foot, and raises your consciousness at the same time.”
– (Pick of the Week)

“Rich Orloff packs a lot of agile humor into FUNNY AS A CRUTCH.  The show resonates with meaningful authenticity while generating its laughs.”
– Back Stage (Critic’s Pick)

“well-written and genuinely funny”
– Culture Vulture

“5 stars (out of 5).  Funny and well done.”
– Rochester Talon

“witty in a completely refreshing way”
– Three Weeks (Brighton, ENGLAND)

“Rich Orloff’s sharp, witty collection of short plays about disabilities”
– The New York Times (3 years after the initial production)

FUNNY AS A CRUTCH skewers stereotypes, archetypes, prejudices and assumptions both towards and within the disabled community.  Beginning with the unlikely story of the first disabled settlers at Plymouth Rock and ending with the fractured fairy tale of Cripperella, FUNNY AS A CRUTCH finds humor in everything from representations of the disabled in popular culture to the challenges of personal relationships.

The plays include:

THE NEW LAND – When settlers in early America try to prevent people with disabilities from moving to the new land, a surprising guest arrives with a message.  (3 m., 2 w.)

read an excerpt

POSITION AVAILABLE – At the Concerned Liberal Institute for Compassionate Handicapped Employment (CLICHE), a human resource counselor struggles to find the right stereotype for a new job applicant.  (1 m., 1 w.)

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TOES – A newly engaged woman is shocked to learn the reason why her disabled parents refuse to give their blessing to her charming fiancé. (2 m., 2 w.)

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DUTCH TREAT – When two American women visit Amsterdam, their friendship is tested when the one with a disability is wooed by a seductive Frenchman. (2 m., 2 w.)

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JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS – An executive interviewing a job applicant is continually distracted by the applicant’s “thing”, which has a personality of its own.  The New York Times called the play “a miniature masterpiece of understatement and insight”.  (2 m., 2 w.)

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NELLIE – In this parody of the 1950s film classic Lili, an innocent lass learns about life from an embittered puppet, who is none too kind when visited by puppet versions of Quasimodo, Tiny Tim, Captain Hook and Oedipus.  Back Stage called it “terrifically funny”.  (1 m., 1 w., plus puppets)

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ALL THAT HE CAN BE – A young man tries to convince an Army recruiter that his disability can be an asset to the military. called it “very smart” and The New York Times called it “just plain touching.” (3 m.)

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TOTALLY ACCESSIBLE – A married couple, both of whom use wheelchairs, find no easy solution to their differing vacation desires – or the problems underneath.  (1 m., 1 w.)

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CRIPPERELLA – A young woman is transformed so she can attend a royal ball in an inaccessible palace, but a small-minded prince makes a fairy tale ending unlikely.  (3 or more m., 2 or more w.)

read an excerpt

production history

The Foolish Theatre Company, NYC (premiere)
Improbable Theatre Company, Phoenix
White Room Theatre, Brighton ENGLAND
RAMbunctious Theatre Company, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, SCOTLAND
New Bulgarian University, Sofia BULGARIA
and colleges, universities and high schools across the country.