There are mentally disabled people, who really enjoy acting. People like Aat Nederlof. Even though he was very young, Aat Nederlof knew he wanted to be an actor when he was older. Despite the fact that he has got the Down Syndrome, he played some parts in different TV-shows.
He got some schooling in Amsterdam. In the book: “Aat, a mentally disabled on his way to independence.” which his mother Anna Nederlof wrote, you can read how he lived his life during that schooling.
Some pieces out of the book:
"On Sunday evening, halfway through Studio Sports, unexpectedly, he stands in the middle of the living room. ‘The drama academy... I want that... later... drama lessons in Amsterdam’. His voice sounded as usual, subdued. Insecure, he is searching for words. Then, all of a sudden he yells: ‘I want that!’ He stamps his foot quickly tempered on the floor, as if this is the way to add some power to its words. He aims his words to no-one in particular. He just throws them into the living room. ‘I want that! I want that!’ He disappears just as sudden as he came in and closes the door with an unthinkable bang.
Studio Sports has lost our attention, but we keep staring at the television screen. ‘Would mime be something for him?’ I think out loud, ‘That is the way that Joan started.’ ‘Probably,’ Barbara answers sincerely. ‘You have to ask Oetie. She teaches for a long time on the school of Rob van Reijn.’”
“’The man in the garden’ is the first mini-act, which I get to see: The weather darkens… The man’s mood darkens at the same time. The first drops of rain fall. I see them fall at Aat’s moving eyelids.
The second act is ‘the car’. It is very funny, right from the very beginning. Aat is a father, saying goodbye to his seven children. He gets into his far too small car, while he protects his head so he will not bump his head. Eventually he gets a breakdown with his car and he has to push it along.
Yet, the most impressive is ‘the butterfly’. When he plays this mini-act he only has had 10 weeks of lessons. The way he kneels and admires. His hand reaches … It is not just the tender gesture that touches me. It is also the consciousness that he is able to transcribe his emotion on me. The butterfly really is there, just for a moment, the beauty, a dream… At once, it flies away, I can see it leave.”
There are more people who are mentally disabled who became an actor.
The most famous one is Chris Burk from 'Life goes on'.
On the site: www.usatoday.com he tells the following story:
"People with disabilities face a lot of obstacles — just like other people do," says actor Chris Burke, who starred in the television series Life Goes On. "So people shouldn't be negative when it comes to a person's rights."
While Burke has Down syndrome, the 36 year-old actor maintains a full and successful life.
"My mom and dad taught me the importance of exercising and eating right," adds Burke. "And they made sure I went to the doctor and dentist regularly. I was also lucky to have a good doctor who listened to me and respected me. But some people I've met who have Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities are not as lucky."
You can read some other stories on the next sites:
All actors in this special theatre group are mentally disabled. The actors live in Belgium. To read more about theatre Stap, go to the following site: www.theaterstap.com
There you can see several pictures of their performances.
There are some well known movies which tell a story about a person who is mentally disabled.
You probably know: 'Rain Man' , Forest Gump or 'I am Sam'
But the actors are not mentally disabled themselves.