Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department student Kayla Casiano, a freshman in the department’s BFA Program in Acting, is featured in the Chicago Children’s Theatre’s new virtual adventure series This Ability. This world-premiere live-action web show features three young superheroes, played by a special trio of actors who, in life, are blind, deaf, and autistic. The story’s heroes leverage their special powers to save an international cat celebrity with a disability who has escaped from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and is lost on the streets of Chicago. This superhero story is told in three episodes, with Casiano’s episode debuting on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. The show is available for free on demand viewing via the Chicago Children’s Theatre’s YouTube channel CCTV: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. Each episode frames the actor with a fun, fast-paced, entirely unique, comics-inspired animation style meant to convey the distinct ways CCT’s newest superheroes/sheroes each experience their world, challenging perceptions of what it means to be a hero. This Ability is rich in mystery, intrigue and high-stakes action, all fueled with a graphic novel vibe, and it’s ready to entertain and engage children ages six and up, along with their parents, caregivers, and teachers. For a video preview of the show, click here.
Casiano, who is deaf, plays Moore the Protector in the show. She is an 18-year-old alum of Chicago’s Bell Elementary and Whitney Young High School. In a recent Chicago Tribune article about the CCT show, she told the reporter that she is providing her own voice for the character of Moore the Protector, “so that people know that I can speak as well, that deaf people can use their voice and sign at the same time.”
This Ability is the third digital production to emerge from Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Springboard Project, an initiative launched in 2020 to foster new works made especially for today’s young people. It is launching as a virtual production, but in future iterations could be a live play in three acts.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is Chicago’s largest professional theatre company devoted exclusively to children and young families. The company has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theatre with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise.