Aidan Zeglinski has lived with autism his entire life — now he wants you to laugh and shed a tear while hearing about it.
Zeglinski, 18, has created, written, and will perform Quirky, a solo one hour performance, running from July 18 to 27 at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, touching on his autistic life in both a humorous way, but also one that will tug at the heart strings.
"It has been in one form of development or other up until the end of Grade 10, so the end of 2017," he said recently.
"I did a presentation to my class on living with autism and Asperger syndrome and someone from the audience said I should turn it into a Fringe show. So through Grade 11, I came up with a workshop version of it and all through Grade 12, I worked on it."
What Zeglinski came up with was something very different than his original school presentation at Seven Oaks School Division's Met School — and something for which he not only earned a school credit for all his hard work, but also the 2019 Western Inspirational Scholarship.
"It is a more humorous look at it," he said. "It is usually my own personal stories. Some parts have been changed to protect identities, but it's all from real life."
Take Zeglinski's first kiss.
"I talk about my first experience with romance and girlfriends. It took three times before we could kiss without me freaking out. And these three times were spread across a year."
Zeglinski comes to the arts almost genetically. His mother, Kim, has performed several Fringe shows as Kimmy Zee while his dad, Dave, is musician Steve Bell's longtime producer, engineer and business partner.
But it turns out Aidan isn't the only artist performing at this year's Fringe who lives with a disability.
Others include stroke survivors Diana Rising and Mitch Krohn in Strokes of Genius at Venue 23, Adam Schwartz from Autistic Productions in Anna and the Substitute Teacher at Venue 3, and Stephanie Morin-Robert, who has one eye, in Eye Candy at Venue 21.
There's so many they have banded together this year under the hashtag #disabilitywpgfringe
Overall, Zeglinski, who said he will be stepping away from performing arts for a time to concentrate on his university studies, hopes his play will do something else for his audience.
"I want people to have a good time, but I also want them to learn about somebody else's life with autism," he said.
"It's entertaining, heartwarming, touching — and it's all based on real experiences."
To catch Zeglinski's show, go to Venue 24, the Platform Centre, on the main floor of the Artspace Building, 100 Arthur St.
And yes — the venue is wheelchair accessible.
— Kevin Rollason
Read more about Zeglinski here.
Local butchers producing winning wieners
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Fried dough gets award
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