Poland Syndrome Support

Richard Stott – Wretched (Poland Syndrome)

Richard Stott is an actor. He contacted PIP-UK to let us know he was performing at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. He called his performance ‘ Wretched’.

Sam and I decided we would go to watch his performance. This is the first time we had been to the Edinburgh Fringe so we didn’t know what to expect.
As we waited outside for the performance to begin, we thought we were the only ones waiting to see Richard in ‘Wretched’ but we were soon joined by others. Waiting at the end of the street from the venue, I was approached by a very lively guy who was handing out leaflets for a performance and inviting us to go and watch it. I already had a handful of these leaflets as all the acts at the Fringe do this. I looked at the leaflet and then at the guy’s face who was talking to me. The leaflet was for ‘Wretched’, I asked are you Richard? I told him Sam and I were there from PIP-UK and he dashed off to give Sam a big hug. He was delighted to see us there, as we were to meet him.

We went into the venue not really knowing what to expect. There was a green recycling bin on the stage and nothing else. Richard came on and started by telling us how babies born, many moons ago with any differences, in Greece were treated. I was really shocked by this description and can’t bring myself to write it down but I’m sure you can Google it. What a long way we have come since then in the treatment of theses babies. But have we really? Richard was born with Poland Syndrome. He hadn’t found P.S. to be an issue until he began his acting career. In his performance he recounted some of the experiences he had had in his life when people discovered he had P.S. and a smaller hand. He made these experiences sound funny and laughed and smiled about it himself. Richard laughed but you could feel his sadness. It was a very emotional performance and some of the audience were in tears in parts and laughing in others.

The whole show was about Richard living with Poland Syndrome and being an actor. He called some of his audition experiences. Richard had a powerful voice and presence on the stage. You could see he was confident and a strong actor. However in his auditions he found the same scenario repeating itself. He found that everything would be going well until they realised he had a smaller hand and they couldn’t see beyond that. He doesn’t want to be defined by his hand. He feels cannot be called disabled as he doesn’t think of himself as disabled or as disabled enough to be disabled.

To sum up 

Richard gave a compelling and emotional performance. He raised some points about P.S. that we at PIP-UK hadn’t considered before. One point was that as he grew things he had to hold grew bigger too such as cups and drinking glasses. Richard ended his performance by singing “Dream the impossible dream”, which summed up his struggle to get acting work. Richard is hoping to go on tour with this performance, if you get a chance go and see it. I would advise it is more suited to adults.

Follow Richard on Twitter to see his upcoming appearances

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