"From the darkness, sleeping light." Formerly luminus dormiens. Lux pacis, light of peace.

Quote: "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." --Bill Watterson, cartoonist, Calvin and Hobbes


review of deaf performance

I just saw a Deaf performance today at the local Deaf school, entitled "Beauty and the Beast." It simply wasn't good, not as good as last year's "Grease" but I have to admit that I didn't understand at all what was going on during the play and there was a lot of nice music.

This had none, or at least I didn't hear or feel the music.

I won't give a rating because I don't have any knowledge of performance by Deaf actors. Maybe that's the way it was supposed to be, but in my opinion, it was not good.

It suffices to say that there was simply too much talking, and ill-timed delays. During the entire performance, I simply could not stand sitting at these characters doing nothing but talk [or in this case, signing] on and on and on. There should be emotions shown in actions, not explained in words. I should see what is going on, not be told what I should see. It was didactic, philosophy-discussion in the meanest way where I was just looking for an entertainment of ASL.

The ill-timed delays. I'll have to explain by starting with this: Every good performance relies not just on the great use of words, but also on the usage of silence that can speak louder than words.

Believe it or not, despite not hearing a sound out of the mouth of these actors, their hands were simply noisy and bothersome to me.

When a character is saddened, he or she should be silent for a period, to let us, the audience, absorb the mood. Every action should show the sadness, not just the face expressing the emotion or the hands explaining it, but the entire body language. Instead, what I got was just endless talking. Sure, there were delays of a second, but immediately that was interrupted by more talking. Every single scene just feature talking at the same speed. It's like a banter, or a fencing game of some kind, but no wits behind it. It's just a character finishing a sentence, and having another sentence immediately follow it. There's no sense that you get that a character is thinking before responding, just a bunch of actors and actresses throwing out hand signs by rote. Emotion was shown on the face, and sometimes in body language, but it was all too short and fast, not enough for us to get used to it.

There was basically no rhythm. I guess Deaf people aren't like to have rhythms because they don't listen to music, but they can feel them. Maybe it's just that the lack of music, for me, just didn't make the performance enjoyable. Even though I am hard of hearing, I still like to listen to music because it provides structure to any performance you see. It provides the rhythm to the dance, the skip that a character takes when walking a street, for example.

I'm glad I could understand most of what was going on, but I felt myself going into a daydream often, to the time when I participated in the San Leandro musicals, and to thinking about how I could improve it or sign in a manner more forceful and emotion than what I saw on the stage. I daydreamed that I could sign better, with more cadences and musical gracefulness than what I saw.


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