James, a young boy, suffers from Angelman Syndrome. This neurodevelopmental disorder causes problems with speech and mobility forcing him to spend his life in a wheelchair. The story shifts from James’ imagination where he dreams of being a superhero called “The Amazing Angel-Man” to the real world, where the realities of his condition have a serious impact on his family, particularly his father. As the play progresses, these two separate worlds start to overlap, leading to an uplifting resolution that upholds the values of hope and imagination. The play was inspired by the real-life story of a young boy who suffers from Angelman Syndrome. This syndrome affects males, females, and all racial/ethnic groups equally. About 50 minutes.
PLAYWRIGHT JULIAN FELICE TALKS ABOUT HIS PLAY
THE AMAZING ANGEL-MAN
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I was inspired to write the story by the family of a child who suffers from Angelman Syndrome. Although this is not this family’s story, I wanted to explore how a condition like this can affect a family structure, while also looking at how powerful a child’s imagination can be. There are thousands of young people suffering from this condition across the world, but they all share the same dreams as all other children.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: My favorite part of the play is when James tells his father he loves him towards the end. I really like how the real world and James’ own fantasies merge together to create this very powerful and emotional moment that completes the father’s spiritual redemption.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: Although this story is inspired by a real family, the character are not based on any directly. They came from researching into how families have responded to the news of their children being affected by either Angelman or any similar condition. Some members of this particular family, however, said they saw a great deal of themselves in these characters, even though this was not a deliberate attempt.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: I am hoping that audiences will resonate with the powerful message that our imagination and the strong bonds within families can help to overcome many adversities. I hope that they will respond positively to James and his story, to feel sorry for him but also, perhaps, to empathize with the frustrations of the family. I also hope that it will raise some awareness about Angelman Syndrome, a little-known condition for which there are encouraging signs in terms of finding a cure.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: I hope people enjoy reading this play and wish the best of luck to any groups staging it. Please consider raising some funds for an Angelman charity as part of your production.