TELL is the story of Oralism being introduced to Saint Mary’s School for Deaf Girls, Cabra. Oralism is a method of teaching a deaf child. It does not allow the child to sign in or out of the classroom and the focus is on teaching the children to read speech cues.
I should introduce us. Hello. We are Gemma Collins(that’s me), Stephen Lehane and Dylan Coburn Grey. We are friends and theatre-makers. We met in Dublin Youth Theatre. We are 20, 20 and 21. We are studying various different things. Okay, I think that’s enough. More upon request. (maybe)
We went into rehearsals with a good few things in mind. What we wanted the show to do. Why we wanted to share it with you. What it would look like. We knew we wanted various forms of communication to TELL this story, as we wanted it to be open to Deaf and Hearing people.
This was really important to us.
We wanted to share this story, which is known throughout the Deaf Community but few people in the Hearing Community know about. Cabra is only down the
road. We wanted Irish Sign Language, spoken word, music, gesture, choreography, surtitles, projections. We knew that this show would be devised, as we like to work and feel comfortable working this way. We knew that there would be no director, that it would just be the three of us directing each other in the room. This was new for us. We had always had a director in previous shows.
We sat in Fringe Lab. It’s beautiful with big, bright rooms. We sat at a table, on the red budda bag, we lay on the floor and we danced around Studio 2, discussing what we wanted to say and how we would say it. We shared the information that we had researched and had been thought about (Stephen is studying Deaf Studies, I should have said that!). Stephen thought us some signs. We learned the ISL alphabet. We warmed ourselves up. We cooled ourselves down. We talked to Shane and Grace. We danced some more. We laughed. We got upset. We were angry. We read reports. We read books. We watched Hands On. Stephen talked to his lecturers. We came up with a structure. We laughed at the terms we used in this structure. It would only make sense to us for now and this was okay. It was a language that we had created in the room. It was our language.
We did a warm up and got on our feet. We started to devise material and create. We came up with games that slotted into our structure, created more terms. We stepped out and watched. we layered up meaning. We got emotional, well I did. We took lunch early. We talked about Christmas, while eating €2 rolls from Spar. We took lunch late. We wrote text. Dylan thought us about music. He brought in a loop pedal, coutesy of John Gunning, thanks John. We played with this.
We created. We talked. We didn’t talk but communicated. We danced. We paced the room. We drank coffee. Made tea downstairs. Dylan got rope burn. We repeated. We felt empathy. We felt sympathy. We got nervous. We were excited. We showed. We learned. Christmas happened. New Years is about to. We are still learning. We are learning off lines. We are still creating and changing and editing.
We are playing and erasing. We are inviting people in to watch to give their opinion. We are watching them watch us. We are listening and watching and understanding. We are writing and drawing and talking to the machinists and engineers. We are adding and taking away. Adapting and voicing our opinions. Explaining. Emoting. We are feeling.
We are TELLing this story.