Lauren Opipari will tell you that some of her days are better than others, but she hopes this weekend will be great.
After long hours of preparation, Opipari will take the stage for a performance of The Snow Queen at the PACE Schoolhouse Theatre. When she does, Opipari will recite her lines with the help of a computer.
Out of the 18 cast members in this production, Opipari is one of the four who will speak to the audience with technology.
“I've wanted to try acting for a long time,” says through an augmentative communication device (AAC), as she sits in her wheelchair. "It is going to be an incredible experience, not just because of the hard work I am doing to prepare, but also because of what so many others are doing to help me.
Let's Talk is the group behind the play. The foundation strives to not only provide opportunities for people who are non-verbal, but to also encourage others in the community to interact with individuals who speak with technology.
Emma Watt has two daughters acting in The Snow Queen. This is the first play for her oldest, Elizabeth, who uses an AAC device to speak.Emma has programed the device to say each line, and helped Elizabeth learn her cues.
"Your dream for your kid changes when you find out that there's something wrong," Watt says. "When you find out they might not make it to adulthood, or they might have these very big physical and communication limitations, really, it whittles it down to, 'I just want them to have friends, I just want them to be happy, and I just want them to belong,' because that's all any of us want to do."
Take a few moments to watch the entire story, shot by photojournalist Cody Broadway, in the video above.
The Snow Queen will run on March 3 and 4 at The PACE Schoolhouse Theatre. The public can purchase tickets online or by calling the PACE center box office at 303-805-6800.
Tickets are still available or the evening performances on Saturday and Sunday. They cost $15.