A Journey and a Half

Shahid Iqbal Khan
Graeae

Taharah Azam as Fatima

This is the fifth of Graeae’s weekly series of monologues written in isolation by deaf and disabled writers. It has both captions and audio description. It lasts eight minutes plus a brief introduction.

Played straight to camera, these are described as readings but this whole series feel like rounded character cameos. This one, directed by Jenny Sealey with Taharah Azan as wheelchair-user Fatima, is a warning of the difficulty of readjustment after a period in self-isolation and of revisiting situations associated with trauma.

Fatima is a Muslim woman in a colourful hijab after a long time cooped up at home recovering from when she was attacked on a bus by people who believe all Muslims terrorists. She steels herself to go out in her wheelchair and face up to her fears. The difference between the quiet and security of home and the noise and bustle of the world outside has to be coped with to start with, then getting on a bus, like the one where she had that traumatic experience.

People on the bus provide a religious confrontation very different from what happened before and raise questions about the real motivation for what they count as kindness.

Reviewer: Howard Loxton