‘High Times and Dirty Monsters,’ is the new hip-hop show by Liverpool-based 20 Stories High.
In collaboration with national partners, the production features Deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists, providing a glimpse into the experiences of being young and disabled in 2023. From heavy beats and stunning visuals to integrated British Sign Language (BSL), creative captioning, and audio description, High Times and Dirty Monsters aims to offer a diverse and inclusive experience.
We spoke to some of the cast and crew involved in bringing this groundbreaking production to life …
Please introduce yourself …
My name is Chris Fonseca, and I am a dance artist, choreographer & teacher. Angolan heritage – born and raised in the heart of South East London.
Why High Times and Dirty Monsters?
I greatly admire the incredible work of 20 Stories High. When I was offered the amazing opportunity by Keith and Leanne to participate, being part of a creative team to collaborate on something I knew would be magical and ojn such a significant topic, I was thrilled to take on the role of choreographer.
What does the story of High Times and Dirty Monsters mean to you personally?
High times and Dirty Monsters is a crucial topic that amplifies the voices of young deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent individuals who have been unseen, unheard, and undervalued by society and the system. To acknowledge the obstacles they have encountered and to educate and empower the younger generation, with the hope of changing the narrative.
Tell us about a challenging moment during this project that you had to dig deep to get through?
Finding a definition of creative language that combines multiple layers to integrate the creative process of BSL integrated, movement, and audio description within a limited time frame was an interesting challenge. Kudos to the incredibly talented team for embracing the experience and persisting towards the finish line successfully. Throughout the process, I have gained more knowledge about disabilities and neurodiversity, which will enhance the process for future projects.
Tell us a memorable moment?
Press night. It was filled with intense emotions and created an incredible atmosphere. The exceptionally talented cast and creative team truly brought the show to life. It was a major honour to witness the journey of transforming the rehearsal period into an extraordinary stage performance. This has been the proudest experience.
What best defines what you love about this project?
Jamal’s story is touching and relatable to my personal experience as a black deaf man; navigating and unravelling the complexities of identity. The inner voice of my younger self wished to hear a story like this back then. And Kat’s story, The speech was powerful and heartfelt, making it completely relatable. I won’t say more. I’ll leave you to watch the play.
Working with a dramaturg to bring Follow the Signs 2.0 back in 2024, bigger and better. I’m thrilled that the show has a future life after being successfully commissioned by Soho Theatre. Keep your eyes peeled.
How do we keep up to date with you and your work?
Website: www.Chrisfonseca.com, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube: @itschrisfonseca. Join me on this journey to gain insight into my discoveries, explorations, and majestic creativity.
High Times and Dirty Monsters tours until November 25th. Find out more here.