Deafinitely Theatre’s “Playing God”

5 08 2007

Has this play been over exposed? I don’t think so. Whatever the reviews say, I think it’s been a useful vehicle in bringing the issue to the attention of the hearing world of the social versus the medical model – should cochlear implants be given to children? Does this mean they become hearing? Does this mean they lose their deaf identity? Is there something wrong with being deaf? How does this impact on deaf families and deaf culture? Who should have the choice here? Why is this an option, and should it be an option or mandatory? Bottom line – what’s the benefit, and what’s the cost?

I went to a subtitled screening (thank you again, Stagetext!) and it was very enjoyable. The play used both spoken language and signing with voice overs provided by the actors. I thought some of the signing wasn’t adequately transcribed into text, as I got more meaning from watching the signing than from reading the text. This is the first time I have seen signing used within a play – more, please!

The acting was superb, especially from Matthew Gurney, particularly in the final scene – when was the last time a man made me cry?! (He made my male friend cry too!) The home truths hit hard and opened up animated discussions in the bar afterwards. I asked a hearing friend what she thought of the issue. She said at first she didn’t understand why a deaf person might not want a cochlear implant, but now she does.

The theatre was packed, and the play’s screenings have been fully booked. The bar was packed afterwards and we met lots of old friends. Of course, Smudge made lots of new ones! My friend James is working for Deafinitely Theatre and he tells me they are off to Edinburgh next, and that it’s been a total blast.

It’s certainly been that. Thanks Paula!

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