The Gift of Limitations

When he was little, Rick Curry was the first of his friends to tie his own laces.  That may not seem like such a big deal unless you know that he was born without a right forearm.  He was brought up to believe he was completely normal.

At six, Rick’s father sent him to an acting class to give him self-confidence, in the hope that Rick might become a lawyer.  Instead, he fell in love with the theater.  But it was at his Jesuit high school that Curry found his true calling.  The Jesuits really appreciated the intellect, he said.  “They taught you how to think.  That was something I didn’t have any barriers to.”

A Jesuit priest, Father Curry died in 2015, at the age of 72.  He dedicated himself to teaching people with disabilities how to succeed—first in the difficult world of theater, then with wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, helping them deal with post-traumatic stress by writing of their experiences.  His tools were stagecraft and storytelling.

His life was celebrated in October 2016 with a memorial service at the Sheen Center in New York, not far from the theater program he founded in lower Manhattan.  Most memorably, the service showcased the cabaret choir of his National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped—some crippled, some stunted, one blind and led on stage, one in a wheelchair—joyously singing, “Because...

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