Deaf Culture | NTID Theatre
“Silently, below each story is the essence of the Deaf experience that becomes ... a snapshot of the deaf character,” expressed director Aaron Kelstone about the “Vignettes of the Deaf Character.” The performance comprised of ten scenes — comedy, monologues, farce and narratives — portraying a very thought-provoking display of Deaf history.
A couple at a romantic anniversary dinner bickers over each other’s Deaf mannerisms, bringing up a situation that Deaf people commonly face: how should we fit in the hearing society? The disastrous dinner ends with the girl dumping her martini on her boyfriend. Although humorous, it made a serious point about how different deaf people may not unite over how to fit in with an entirely different culture.
The monologues were intense. “The Pledge of Allegiance” scene opened up with the narrator asking the audience how many knew the pledge. Only a very few Deaf people raised their hands. The narrator continues, stating that there are 30 million deaf people in the United States. Actress Maya Ariel began the powerful monologue stating she did not know what the pledge was until she was 20, thinking in kindergarten that instead of saying the pledge, her classmates were counting heartbeats.
The random farce scenes like “The Deaf Chef” and “Disconnected” exaggerated scenarios of Deaf culture, light-heartedly mocking aspects of hearing culture. Because of “Deaf Standard Time,” the Deaf chef missed out on the hilarious culinary styles of the diverse ‘hearing’ culture by arriving late. Because deaf people have no use for the telephone, “Disconnected” exaggerates the use of the telephone as a baseball bat.
With most of the performers and crewmembers being first-timers to NTID Theatre, the group pulled off quite a successful performance. The message was clear, the writing was clever; and the theatrical experience was a pleasant one. Bravo!