‘Cost of Living’ sheds light on people struggling with disabilities
Complicated relationships between caregivers and the people they are helping are at the center of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Cost of Living,” which is now being performed on Broadway.
Two separate storylines take the audience into the worlds of very different individuals who need care. Ani is a working-class woman who is divorcing her husband in Bayonne, New Jersey, when an accident leaves her paralyzed and in need of his care. And John, an affluent academic who hires a caregiver. Ani and John are played by actors with disabilities, Katy Sullivan and Gregg Mozgala.
"I was born without the lower halves of my legs, it's all I've ever known," says Sullivan.
She performs the role in a wheelchair without her prosthetic legs. She says that she feels most vulnerable when entering her first scene.
"Culturally, we're sort of taught to look away. It happens to me every day. I walk down the street and people avert their eyes. As an audience member. Your job is to stare. So, it's a very dynamic moment, " Sullivan says.
In addition to Sullivan and Mozgala, the cast of four includes Kara Young and David Zayas as caregivers facing their own set of challenges. Zayas says the role has had a profound personal impact on him.
"The loss I've had in my life, I've had to be the one to have to maintain strength and be the person to take care of other people without every really touching on my grief, my loneliness,” Zayas says. “I've been able with this play...it's given me the opportunity to actually force that out. "
“Cost Of Living” is a production of the Manhattan Theatre Club. Performances of Cost Of Living have been extended through Sunday, Nov. 6.
The play is written by Martyna Majok.