Director brings play “Nerdicus (My Brother With Autism) to life

Sprngfield, Virginia. West Springfield High School — Drama students at the school won a state title last spring under the guidance of drama teacher,Bernie DeLeo with a one-act play about autism.

Although this was certainly something to celebrate, the play “The Other Room” about a high school boy with autism and the voices battling inside his head left Mr DeLeo with the feeling that this gave the audience the impression that to have autism is tragic. Mr DeLeo has son with Asperger’s Syndrome.

He told the Washington Post:

“People loved it,”

Mr DeLeo said of “The Other Room,” adding that audiences were gasping and crying at the end of the play.

“As a director, you love it when that happens. But by the same token, living with a son who is autistic, it left me with the feeling that this is not 100 percent accurate. My experience is that it can be rather funny to have a child with autism.”

MrDeLeo therefore sat down last summer and wrote his own one-act play “Nerdicus (My Brother With Autism)”, which finished third in the Virginia High School League state championships last month.

The play is based on Mr DeLeo’s children Charlie, 20, who has Asperger’s, and Sophie, 18. He didn’t tell his family he was working on the play until it was finished.

“if any of my family is upset with this, and this is revealing too much, I will pull the plug on it. But they weren’t. My daughter laughed and said, ‘Oh, my God, this is so true.’ She was laughing at certain lines that are kind of like family lore.”

The full article by Mari-Jane Williams in The Washington Post via the sfgate.com website can be read here