Ouch! at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Ashley Apap has an invisible disability, which is hard for someone who loves attention

For half of her life, Ashley has plastered on a forced smile and pushed down her chronic pain – but not anymore. Through this brain-fog fuelled combination of sketch comedy, standup, storytelling and song, she implements her special skill of oversharing to bring audiences a comfy reminder that we’re all a little broken.

After 13 years of putting up with constant discomfort, Ashley finally acknowledges the fact that her chronic pain has inhibited her ability to work, sit, drive, take proper care of herself or poo without her legs going numb. In Ouch! she deciphers her recent journey looking into how
her rheumatoid arthritis, joint dysfunction and generalised anxiety are all linked. Ashley discovers that she has what many doctors won’t acknowledge the existence of – an “invisible disability”.

In the world premiere of Ouch! Ashley uses her signature sincerity and silliness to figure out what having a disability means to her, especially as she presents as a physically able person. She uses sketch comedy to display uncomfortably comical situations she worries she will one day encounter, dissecting the fear of judgement and disbelief about her conditions, how isolating it can be to know you’re missing out on experiences, and society’s expectation that sick people must brand themselves with their conditions to feel deserving of help. Transforming into absurd characters, Ashley uses her musical chops to bring audiences into the often-farcical experience of her pain. Her style lives somewhere between Broad City and Frank Woodley.

She explores the ideas that have helped her understand what it means for her to be a person with a disability: how listening to your gut will guide you to express your troubles in your own unique way, how your independence is a sacred and fleeting thing, and how openness and vulnerability can help heal trauma and bring people comfort.

Ashley is an experienced writer, improviser, stand-up and sketch comedian, and musical theatre performer. She has performed on stages around Australia and the US including the Upright Citizens Brigade in both New York City and Los Angeles, as well as iO Chicago. In 4 star a review from Theatre People, the author writes “Apap uses her unique view on life and her powerful personality to build a truly incredible performance . . . intimate, entertaining, and thoroughly relatable.”

To make the show as accessible as possible, Ashley has also created an entirely digital version of Ouch! available on demand for anyone who would not be physically able to attend the live performances. Along with composing all music, Ashley has also edited, directed, and produced the digital version.

April 7th, 8th, 9th (9:30pm) 10th (8:30pm) – The Improv Conspiracy Theatre (Level 1, 19 Meyers Place)
April 16th (6:00pm) April 17th (5:00pm) – TIC Swanston (Nicholas Building)
Full: $22 / Concession: $18 / Group: $16.50

visit https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/

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