Break a Leg! Wellington theatre sheds a spotlight on prosthetics
Stagecraft’s season of the New Zealand premiere of “Mr Foote’s Other Leg” by Ian Kelly is knee-deep in humour, as it
tells the scandalous but true tale of Samuel Foote, the most famous one-legged comedian you have never heard of. Set in
the 1700s, this hilarious comedy takes long strides across a number of years to show Foote’s rise to fame and dramatic
fall, including the one from a horse, that necessitates his leg being amputated. This accident does not stop him and
Foote goes on to become even more successful, creating humour from his own situation of being an amputee. However, his
increased fame, and increasingly reckless behaviour, earns him powerful enemies who want to cut him down to size.
During the rehearsal process the cast of Mr Foote had the opportunity to learn about the realities of living with a
prosthetic leg from Jarrod Bailey. Jarrod was intrigued by the play and decided to audition, as being an amputee himself
he was very keen to see how director Amy Whiterod planned to portray the disability onstage. Jarrod wears a
micro-processor controlled prosthetic leg, and he met with some of the cast and director to share his experiences of
surviving an amputation and the mental and physical struggles he has overcome to adapt to his new life, with his
hard-earned positive attitude. He was keen to advise the actor Alan Carabott, who plays Samuel Foote, on the impact on
his physical movement that wearing a prosthetic would have, to increase the accuracy of the portrayal. Having read the
script of “Mr Foote’s Other Leg” several times now, Jarrod gives it his stamp of approval, and is looking forward to
seeing it performed when it opens on the 1stNovember, at the Gryphon Theatre, Ghuznee Street.
Director Amy Whiterod was honoured to have Jarrod’s involvement, as it was important to her to have his perspective
included in the rehearsal process. “This play manages to be both extremely funny and at the same time it explores some
pretty challenging ideas, so it was really helpful to get that real-life experience from Jarrod,” she said. She is
excited to bring the story of Samuel Foote to the stage, as she was immediately attracted to the script that focuses on
the lasting relationships that are formed through theatre, something close to her own experience of being a member of
Stagecraft Theatre company. “What really struck me about the play is that it highlights how sharing moment of humour
creates bonds between very different people, which is certainly something I’ve found through doing theatre in Wellington
over the years.”
“Mr Foote’s Other Leg” will have audiences wriggling their toes in anticipation to see this funny, fast, and sometimes
filthy, love-letter written to the friendships found in a theatre company.
Season 1st November – 11th November, Gryphon theatre, Ghuznee Street, Wellington.