Birds of Paradise Theatre & National Theatre of Scotland Residency

The Staff Infection (2017)

A one-woman installational performance set in an elusive and deconstructed medical institution exploring the doctor patient relationship, the ethics of intimacy and the disabled pathologized female form through intrusive post-traumatic memory and identity, within the complexities and politics of agency and power. The title, The Staff Infection, is double-edged homophone; a reconstruction of the post-traumatic into a political site of radical agency motivated by the censorship - and suppression - of intersectional disabled voices.

The Staff Infection is an unapologetically honest, subversively humourous, intimate – yet uncomfortable – reclamation of multiple oppressions that re-shape the lived experiences of disability, endurance and continuous trauma as a disabled British Indian woman living with mental illness, and the effects of the Tory cuts, in the wake of #MeToo.

For this piece - which will now be a part of a series of works focusing on disability, race, trauma, memory and mental health - I have been working on themes relating to intersectionality within the disabled identity and community, predominately the social issues that intersect, such as abuse (sexual, domestic violence, discrimination and hate crime), mental health, gender and sexuality, heritage and religion, disability politics and the body. Through performance, and theatre, I intend to enact, or act out against, the passivity that is often attributed to the role of the patient, and the authority assigned to the medical professional, and tie this with themes of intersectionality. I aim to hold up a mirror to the cultural misconceptions of disability through ritualistically re-engaging and echoing the daily, and dramatic, performances in medical institutions that have historically defined the disabled body as an Other.

Testimonials and Reviews
via audience feedback sheets at National Theatre of Scotland and Wimbledon SPACE.

“ Aminder's performance was incredibly powerful. It was brave, challenging, and (given my insight into how nervous and uncertain Aminder was in the run-up to this) remarkably cohesive. Given the autobiographical and intimate nature of the work, these superlatives can be repeated a thousand times over. I can't think of any improvements, as such, but I have no doubt the piece will become even stronger as it evolves from rehearsed reading to finalised performance.” - Audience member for Birds of Paradise Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland’s BOP Artists Showcase.

“The work was on another level - so raw, so powerful and very unnerving! There were parts I felt very uncomfortable watching and hearing and feel she likely did that on purpose, perhaps to confront us with the lives we rarely hear about. It was a revelation in many ways, or even a confession, that uncovers what we don’t see in on TV or online, a real life perspective mixed with poetic descriptions of events and trauma. In doctors appointment, they wont know the history behind why someone may be so nervous or having panic attacks when trying to talk and the snippets of poetic language broke that up and really showed me something I haven’t seen before - reality, unadulterated and real with all the uncomfortable moments and all the general everyday moments. I was confused at first at why the doctor - that she was speaking to - was not even there. But as it moved on, it made me think that perhaps it’s related to mental illness or that the doctor is '“faceless” as she sees them multiple times a month and has had trauma with a doctor in the past? It would be interesting to hear her talk about this. It was a real insight and a bit of a mindfuck - in a good way.” - Audience member at Acts Re-Acts 5, Wimbledon SPACE