Directed by: Michelle Christie
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
A collage of stories fills the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. A community of deaf and hard of hearing storytellers from the No Limits for Deaf Children organization out of Culver City, California, create a dialogue and a kinship. Silent NO MORE highlights the lives of several members and alumni of No Limits, bringing their voices to the stage as they recount their experiences being deaf or hard of hearing.
Though not a play in the traditional sense, the journeys expressed onstage are compelling, and beautifully communicated. Each individual speaks his or her story aloud, while corresponding captions are typed, live, onto a screen, and a signer simultaneously translates into American Sign Language. There is a diversity of gender, race, socioeconomic background, and type of hearing impairment. Each speaker spins a fascinating narrative, engaging the audience with their words and their actions. Rebecca Alexander, John Autry II, Kathy Buckley, Alexis Cohen, Henry Greenfield, David Hawkins, Iris Lee, and Ivy Lee share their stories of biking cross country, becoming a licensed pilot, writing a best seller, and gaining fame as a stand up comic with charm, wit, and clarity.
A post-show discussion starts immediately following the curtain call. While the discussion is enlightening, and enforces the sense of community, it runs nearly as long as the show itself. It’s important to allow everyone to have their say, but it’s worth noting if most of the audience grows restless. A balance between inclusiveness and a sensitivity to time could help the talkback portion deliver a more effective experience.
The evening is an enlightening one, creating a bridge between not only the hearing and hard of hearing communities, but also the smaller divides within the hearing-impaired community. By utilizing multiple media to deliver the stories, they are accessible to everyone. The comfort and honesty is refreshing, and the dramaturgy of the order of the stories, as arranged by director Michelle Christie, achieves a lovely aesthetic balance.
Reviewed on 15 December 2016