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Like many modernist engagements with the theme of outsider identity, Alexander Zemlinsky's 1921 opera Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) finds its dramatic nexus in the disabled body. In opera, such bodies are not only (historically) texted but also (presently) performed, with modern stagings offering a form of mediation between the historical and contemporary. With reference to two productions of Der Zwerg, this article unpicks aspects of the representation and performance of disability on the operatic stage. I first explore disability's simultaneous exaggeration and disappearance as a result of the problematic practice of ‘disability mimicry’. The effects of this practice and its proximity to issues of authenticity and embodiment are only made more tangible in the context of live performance, where attempts to embody disability's physicality are often sensationalised and unconvincing at best. However, disability can be, and is, represented in myriad ways. While disability mimicry can engender modes of perceiving disability from a voyeuristic perspective, these productions in fact make use of processes of ‘enfreakment’ to present disability through modes of theatrical production and aesthetic choice. This raises pertinent questions about why and by what means the disabled body is mobilised (or not) on the operatic stage, highlighting, moreover, disability's tendency to indicate meaning in registers beyond the body.
Malnutrition has been reported in the homeless, yet the specific nutritional issues faced by each homeless community are unclear. This is in part due to nutrient intake often being compared with dietary reference values as opposed to a comparative housed population. In addition, the complex interplay between nutrient intake, reward mediated behaviour and mental illness is frequently overlooked. This study aimed to compare the dietary intake, nutritional status and mental wellbeing of homeless and housed adults. Homeless (n 75) and matched housed (n 75) adults were recruited from Reading (UK). Nutrient intake was determined using the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Norfolk FFQ. The Patient Health Questionnaire: Somatic Anxiety Depressive Symptoms (PHQ-SADS) assessed for signs of mental illness. Demographic, behavioural and physiological information was collected using closed-ended questions and anthropometric measurements. Overall, dietary intake was poorer in homeless adults who reported higher intakes of salt (8·0 v. 6·4 g, P=0·017), SFA (14·6 v. 13·0 %, P=0·002) and alcohol (5·3 v. 1·9 %, P<0·001) and lower intakes of fibre (13·4 v. 16·3 g, P<0·001), vitamin C (79 v. 109 mg, P<0·001) and fruit (96 v. 260 g, P<0·001) than housed. Smoking, substance misuse and PHQ-SADS scores were also higher in the homeless (P<0·001). Within the homeless population, street homeless (n 24) had lower SFA (13·7 v.15·0 %, P=0·010), Ca (858 v. 1032 mg, P=0·027) and milk intakes (295 v. 449 g, P=0·001) than hostel residents (n 51), which may reflect the issues with food storage. This study highlights the disparity between nutritional status in homeless and housed populations and the need for dietary intervention in the homeless community.
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