Alive In Longford


From top: Post-Disposed poster: Stephen Garland and Vanessa Foran in Longford

Stephen Garland’s one-man show Post-Disposed about coping with Primary Progressive MS, played in Longford last week ahead of a run at the Edinburgh festival.

Vanessa Foran (her off the telly!) was there.

Vanessa writes:

Stephen Garland was introduced to me, probably the same way as most of ye; by Johnny Keenan on the telly.

A funny man and comedy promoter who had MS (PPMS to be pinpoint about it) who was medically categorised and characterised as Pre-Disposed. I took it at that,

I enjoyed his company when on, and donated to his fund for stem cell treatment. Like most of ye I suppose, I continued to follow his journey from the comfort of a chair. Until last weekend, when Pre-Disposed was formally re-branded Post-Disposed.

Broadsheet  on the Telly viewers will know the same as I did, a night of comedy in the style of storytelling. The same people will also know I have a low bar when it comes to being entertained, so there was minimal risk of impatience for the bright lights of downtown Longford anyway.

Yet, I will admit my main motivation for travelling to Longford was to see how a Theatre and a GAA club with Slashers in its name could co-exist; but I was as open-mined about Stephen Garland’s Post-Disposed Live Storytelling Show as I was about Longford.

In all truth I can say I had a great time. Firstly, The Backstage Theatre and Longford Slashers GAA are indeed true love and life partners; it was like one could live without the other. Happily, contentedly and thriving side by side; and the accommodation for the show was the most comfortable and easy I have ever sat in.

So Post-Disposed. I just looked up Disposed and it comes back from Yahoo as an adjective; inclined or willing. I don’t think I could even become accepting of that as a medical status for a diagnosis ( like Stephen’s, certainly not enough to find the funny side of it, I would be more likely to deny, interrupt the medical professionals, and probably argue my way out of accepting the diagnoses.

But I know I would not have acted so independently and so quickly to change my prognosis like Stephen Garland did.

Post-Disposed is a whirlwind that you find yourself buckled in for the moment Stephen Garland enters and opens his story. The colour, the speed, the timing is flamboyant and in-your-face, just like his management of his disease I suppose; yet the evening brushes past like a gentle scented breeze, like you get when on a foreign holiday when you know you’re in a strange unfamiliar environment, yet wonderfully comfortable there.

Post-Disposed travels 18 months from Longford, to Spain to Brazil to Scotland to Broadsheet to Russia and back to Longford again; I was Post-Exam Hall exhausted yet didn’t stop smiling, seriously, for 120 minutes. It was the easiest standing ovation I ever ended up in.

The unfortunate thing is that Post-Disposed has to trim down to 50 minutes, however a walk-up audience won’t miss out, because the version I was lucky to get a mention in (mortified) contained a home crowd that needed attending to, which, as you’ll learn, is a requirement under a local technicality; Speaking Away.

From Hat to Hat, from Sungas to Mobility Scooter; Stephen Garland’s Post-Disposed might just be what comedy needs right now.

A sound bite; because that is what I was told the Edinburgh audience and participants need (see above) Mammy Mia from the Costa del Longford; colours, laughing, family of all shapes, connections, sizes and ages, itchy eye moments with every walk of life getting a spoke in, the unexpected adversity that comes to all our houses yet has the potential to bring out the best thing about the Irish; the ability to see the funny side of everything.

Good Luck in Edinburgh Stephen; love you or hate you whatever; just make sure they don’t forget you.

Vanessa Foran is a principal at Recovery Partners. Follow Vanessa on Twitter: @vef_pip.

Stephen Garland

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3 thoughts on “Alive In Longford

  1. Johnny Keenan

    Great review Vanessa.
    Garland surely did put on a fantastic show.
    It was interesting informative hilarious and some times poignant.
    But overall an inspiration to us all.
    Never to give up.
    Well done Steve.
    Best of luck in Edinburgh and on your European tour.
    I think a nationwide tour would do well

  2. anne

    Could we get a video of this? Fair dues to Stephen like!

    No idea what the pre-disposed diagnosis is about. You either have MS or you don’t.

    Poo-ey flipping disease. I wonder about these places in Russia or Mexico offering stem cell treatment. It’s not a cure. You’re talking about wiping someone’s immune system completely & reintroducing their own stem cells.. with the idea that the immune system -the T cells, aided & abetted by the B cells, forgets the faulty instruction to attack the bodies owns nerves. Except does it? What is the prognosis for people long term? Is enough known about this drastic treatment..

  3. Stephen garland

    Hi Anne,
    Pre-Disposed is what a member of MS Ireland advised me was the more PC terminology when I had used terminal illness in conversation… origin of the title… sequel is Post-Disposed
    There is more than 1 type of MS I have PPMS a type that 15% of MSers have and the consensus of neurological profession is that there is No Treatment No Cure just suck up the steady decline through the progression markers…
    They have done 900!!!! transplants in 10 years with 2 fatalities in 10 years in this ‘place’ which is a university Hospital, Mexico is a clinic…
    The entire goal of the magical staff of the Pirogov is to improve people’s quality of life and the earlier people get to HSCT the better the results unfortunately the narrative you have just spelt out is exactly why people do not try this treatment. This haematological!!! procedure has been around nearly 50 years… Results vary from person to person from the miraculous to the disappointing ‘no change’. But nobody has ever claimed it as a cure.
    Your lexicon and narrative would suggest you are a med professional and exactly the person who Should come see this show! I’m 8 months post transplant, was told I was 6 from a wheelchair and I am now taking a show to the Fringe and 5 countries! and just 1 story… knowledge saves lives don’t stick your narrative in the way, Xenophobia is a theme of the show btw!

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