(CNN Spanish) — Like a silk scarf traveling through the air, caressing and making the audience fall in love with a different concert. This is how the viewers lived this Thursday the musical experience adapted from Disney for neurodivergent people. An event that the company described as the first function of its kind in Latin America in a venue of the caliber of the Teatro Colón. “It seemed to me that they were just as delighted,” says Thiago Tiberio, musical director in charge of the show held in Buenos Aires.
The initiative was given within the framework of the show “Disney 100 in Concert”, on the occasion of the first centenary of the pioneering entertainment company.
“For us it is a huge step, for the industry, not just for Disney,” says Belén Urbaneja, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility, Brand Management and Diversity and Inclusion at The Walt Disney Company Latin America.
The show required both arduous and detailed preparation, a challenge that involved going through a tunnel without knowing what they would find on the other side.
“We have come (to the Colón theater) to carry out constant surveys to be able to calculate what the stimuli are, which are already too many,” says Matías Cadaveira, a psychologist specializing in neurodiversity, who was in charge of the fundamental task of exploring the space of the mythical theater .
The objective was to bring a friendly and relaxed sensory, auditory and lighting experience that empathizes with a neurodivergent public in which supersensitivity is usually a characteristic.
“The concept of neurodivergent is broad. It involves learning conditions such as dyslexia, inattentive symptoms, the autism spectrum…”, says Alexia Rattazzi, child and adolescent psychiatrist and co-founder of Panaacea (Argentine Program for Children, Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions). ). “They are divergent in their neurocognitive function in relation to the majority of the population,” the specialist explains, emphasizing that, in neurodiversity, we are all different.
This theatrical experience allowed us to unite those differences of all the public that followed the show of just over an hour long.
“The volume was low. It wasn’t that it stunned. It was a pleasure,” Inés Tavosnanska, a mother who attended with her two children, tells us, one of whom is neurodivergent. “There was constantly music. That for me is essential because it attracts them. If it’s the dialogue part, at least it’s hard for my son to follow it,” she continues with a smile.
This was one of the key aspects of the innovative show.
“For them, the most complicated thing is when you change from something very soft, to something very strong, and then soft again”, explains Thiago Tiberio, who remarks that he had to emphasize with the orchestra that calm music, ensemble and concentration would be the key to success.
This point is as important as empathizing, warns Matías Cadaveira, a specialist in autism. The psychologist, who worked together with the NGO Salidas Inclusivas, calls for “changing the chip and understanding that disability is not in the person’s mind or body, but in environments that are not friendly or accessible enough, or adaptable and flexible.”
The production work also included the incorporation of a signage GPS so that, from their homes and before the event, the public would become friends with the space they would find when they arrived at the theater.
Belén Urbajena, promoter of the initiative, admits: “I hardly watched the show. I watched the public.” It is that there was the answer on whether the concert worked or not.
Spartan silence, Zen concentration and Dionysian enjoyment was the response of an audience that filled 70% of the room’s capacity (the maximum allowed) and two floors of boxes.
On stage, meanwhile, an orchestra of 60 musicians, singers, dancers, acrobats and a screen made up this three-dimensional proposal. Classics like Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Mulan, among others, had their place.
The training was vital, according to the singer Patricio Witis, who points out that the advice of an autism spectrum specialist was vital. “That kind of knowledge helped us a lot to really understand why we do the things we did,” he said.
“I knew that we would not have applause, that it would not be an effusive, crazy neurotypical thing. For me it was a very nice thing, very calm, very Buddhist, very calm,” reflects Thiago Tibeiro. With the same dexterity with which he handles the baton, this US-based Brazilian director understands that being autistic or manifesting other forms of neurodivergence should not be an impediment to enjoying a show. “It’s not right. We are not like that. We are human beings. We love everyone. It is necessary to do everything for everyone,” he adds.