Saturday, February 27, 2010

Viva La Commedia! or The show does in fact go on!

This is my reflections of my son's "Commedia Dell' Arte" experience. They play is set in Cuba and involves the romantic mishaps of two families. Commedia was most popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is comedy that involves improv and the action takes place all over the stage and audience which makes it very hard to interpret. My son plays the child slave to a rich young man soon to be married. His prop of choice is a large fish.

Deaf kid in a hearing play with improv and a large fake fish.

The stage is surrounded by dinner tables 3/4. There is a Cuban band and a wait staff in character. This is an arts focused school so the production quality is amazing. The costumes, lighting , script and score are top notch. In the hall outside the theater are working sketches from the costume designer. As a former professional costumer I can honestly say I am blown away.

As we are seated I am thrilled to see they waitstaff have developed hilarious characters so even while we wait for the show to start we are entertained. Our waiter has a sassy Bronx accent and has no trouble telling the principals to get a clue.

My son is one of the first to enter the stage with his dear friend the large fish. I am stunned at how he can read the other actors and his physical response is perfect and in context. His physical comedy style is obviously influenced by his early exposure to Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. We used to watch old silent movies with him before he could read captions. I can tell that his intense dance classes have effected his awareness of his body. I highly suggest dance classes for deaf kids.

The highlight of the show in regards to my son is when he is told to be a desk and bend over by his master. He does this then ques the band to play. What follows is a hilarious dance number. He is perfectly in sync with the music! There is no way for folks watching at any point to guess he is deaf. His character is mute but appears to hear. Throughout the play he used gesture and gibberish sign like movements.

I attended three shows and on closing night there was a hint that could give away how this happened. One of the actors signed and spoke a line. It was so brief I assume people didn't notice. It turns out during rehearsal the actors had learned to sign and would use this to keep Haddy clued in when the interpreters couldn't get in eye line. He had a team of two interpreters during the six day rehearsal schedule for six weeks and by the time the show opened there was one interpreter back stage in case of an emergency. He got all the information he needed from the cast on stage and backstage.

At the final banquet scene he is perched on another actors shoulders costumed to conceal the other actor and look like a really tall man. The other actor voiced which happened to appear it was from the crotch of this tall man while my son pretend to be speaking but since his character is a hungry little clown he ends up drinking and being distracted while the other actor is talking. The whole scene was crazy fun it ends with my son leaping off the shoulders on to the table and tumbling to the floor with acrobatic skills he did not possesses last year.

So the show was maybe one of the best things that has ever happened to him. I watched the other kids, mostly Seniors, work with him and never did I sense any patronizing energy. They respect him as a fellow artist. It strikes me that this school, in this play created the environment we all seem to be looking for. What about this group of people made it so easy?

Friday, February 26, 2010

The show must go on

7:30 am

I try and get one more ticket to my son's show for a friend. We get the last one. We already had tickets for our family but because the show was almost sold out we had to take seats at a different table. They always book that table last because it is by the band. I asked my son if it is OK. He tells me it is a great view and a perfect table for Deaf people. Well we are hearing and I don't care we will have fun even if we have to sit in the rafters. I pay the $30 for the extra ticket (I know but it is a great show).

8:25 am

I text my son to see if he brushed his hair. He is so tired from his schedule he forgets. Nope he forgot so another day at school looking like he just woke up.

5:00 pm

Our friend is on his way to our house we are excited to go to the show as a family. My daughter is putting together her theater fashion. She picks a floral dress, red satin Chinese jacket, black tights and brown dress shoes. She tell me this is theater attire. She puts on her lavender oil "perfume". We are all stoked and is festive spirits.

5:24 pm

I get a text
"Mom bad terp.. can you fire her?"

Me: "whats wrong? want me to come?"

I jump in the car and go to the theater. I am freaked out because I can't step in. I have a ticket! The principal went home hours ago so we can't replace an interpreter on short notice. When I arrive I notice my phone battery is dead so I can't text my son to find out his location. I see some actors and ask for Haddy. Make up they tell me. I run down two flights of stairs, no Haddy. Again I ask. Upstairs in dressing room he just left they tell me. I am told they can help me if I need it. Nice kids. Again I dash off. Two flights of stairs. This reminds me I need to work out more if I am to be a helicopter mom. I finally find him after dashing here and there. What is up I ask.

"She told me to go get condoms"

Uh, yea, and then what?

At this point I will pause,

I will pause for deaf folks to laugh and say , "that's life, get used to lousy interpreters"

I will pause for hearing parents of deaf children to gasp in horror. Confused.

Haddy was told to go to costume not condoms. She is not familiar with theater lingo and maybe winging it?

I will pause for myself to catch my breath and think of a plan. He tells me she doesn't know what to do, she isn't ASL fluent and he can work the night himself but he doesn't want to make a scene. She is not qualified and he needs her to step back.

I go see who it is. She is sitting in the theater. She is confused about where she is supposed to be because Haddy disappeared. I realize this is a hard job to take but my son is the client and he comes first. Here is my reply,

" So great to see you! So Haddy doesn't use an interpreter for the show. He knows his cues and we don't have an interpreter on stage (true) so I am going to show you where you will be. You are here for emergencies so we need a place where he can find you if he needs you. " I walk her backstage and find a chair. Everyone in the back of the house knows me from volunteering so this is no problem. She is happy to sit and I make a mental note of her name so she isn't called again.

I go back and find his friends. I tell them the plan. Next I tell the director. Problem solved.

5:44 pm

I go home and enjoy the festivities of getting ready to see the show. My daughter is dancing when I get home. I join her. The whole process took 20 minutes. We leave on time to go see the show.

to be continued......

Monday, February 22, 2010

He has a hearing sister

My son was born into a hearing family. Until I met him I had never met a deaf person before. I do remember one girl in elementary school who wore hearing aides and always walked home alone. I didn't know her and I don't recall ever talking to her. So we had to start from scratch when we found out he was deaf. I wanted him to socialize and feel included at home. I also wanted another child.

I don't blog here about my daughter yet but I plan to write a series of posts about her to better explain our family. She is seven and trilingual. She has a full life on her own and with her family. She adores her brother but they can really argue at times.

When he was four I became pregnant. We were all so excited. In a way the timing was perfect. We spent the first three years of his life learning how to parent a deaf child and fighting for services. It was time consuming and the work paid off because but age four it was as if we set the foundation for a typical family life. The only extra attention his deafness required was the IEP meetings and some tweaks with the school. I had settled into being the volunteer mom.

His sister was born right after he turned 5. Like any parent I wanted him to feel involved. He was at the birth and read me books while I was in labor. When she popped out he cut the cord with my husband and said, "She is so sparkly!" Her sign name is modeled after that thought.

It was tricky at times having a Deaf and hearing child. My goal was to be the perfect parent giving both children equal quality time and to insure my son was not left out. I wanted my daughter likewise to not feel everything was focused on my son. I didn't want her to resent him for being deaf. I have tried my best but often I have laughed at my errors.

I was lucky that I could volunteer so much at the deaf school. This allowed my daughter the opportunity to grow up deep in Deaf culture. It was her normal to switch from speaking to sign. She was with me at the school from about the age of one week when she attended her first performance. It was a play Haddy was in and I didn't want to let him down so I packed her up and sat in the back row of the theater painfully adjusting myself in the seat hoping she would be patient. She was and continued to be patient as time went on.

I had a feeling that if she didn't spend a lot of time at the school she wouldn't have a connection to her brother's world. I didn't want to have to complete separate worlds in my own home I wanted a hybrid. I wanted a place that was equal and natural for all. I volunteered at the deaf school at events and twice a week after school teaching art, cooking and theater to the elementary kids. My husband and myself helped with the soccer team. To all of these activities she came along and participated. She was treated like the other kids in the group. When she was really little the staff that supported my classes would help her while I taught. The Deaf children would also watch over her. She was known all over campus. As she got older she sat next to the others and participated.

I asked her what it is like having a Deaf brother, " Well the best part is you are kinda famous at school because you know sign language. You have a brother to play with and teach you things. He is deaf so you get to learn another language. The best part is having a brother."

So she has always had connection to the Deaf world, it is her normal.

It is interesting to look at her language development. She was exposed to ASL as a native language from birth. I will write more about this later. She signs like coda. When she is playing with her brother she makes choppy quiet vocal sounds. When she signs with others she makes no sound. She now knows to turn off her English in the company of Deaf people even if a signing hearing person is present but at an early age she would only sign with deaf people. It makes perfect sense that she would do this but it was frustrating. The really cool thing is she learned ASL naturally. Now she is trilingual adding Spanish to the mix.

Well it is her bedtime. Off to read one story in English, one in Spanish and one from big brother in ASL.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Originally uploaded by haddy2dogs
The sister of my son. I will be posting about my daughter to better explain our family. May I introduce my daughter. She is trilingual, likes fairies, bugs and spy gear. She lost a tooth last week and lost it in Target. The photo is a self portrait.

Deaf/hearing is her normal. It is just what we are.

A couple of thoughts

This is more of the last post, given time to reflect I have some thoughts,

When he auditioned there were no roles for a deaf character. Once he was cast they role changed to allow him the freedom of acting without the label of Deaf.

So I mentioned how the audience doesn't know my son is deaf in his play. I thought about what happened last night after the play. They were so shocked to learn he is deaf.

Well I think his intent was to see what the response to his acting would be if he was just Haddy and not the deaf kid. He sometimes thinks he gets attention only because he is deaf. All of his life his accomplishments seem to be framed by his deafness. When he preforms Deaf people are proud of this young Deaf child who is so Deaf. Hearing people are impressed a deaf child can do what he does. He reads at such a high level for any child but it is always discussed in terms of deaf. So what happens when we take deaf out of the equation.

This play is perhaps the most fantastic thing that has ever happened to him. It is showing him he is talented even without the deafness. This may sound strange. This came to me after reading another blog about being a role model. At age twelve it is kinda nice to just be yourself with no strings attached.

Another thing I thought about was this huge shift that is happening for us. This moment last night helps to illustrate it. The cast was getting ready to leave after a really long day. My son was talking with two friends . The director walks out and tells the kids no rehearsal Monday they can take the day off! They are all excited and joking around. Without skipping a beat his friend starts to sign the information to my son. I happened to be passing by and stepped in out of habit to interpret. Funny thing is I didn't need to. That is going to take awhile to get used to.

One last thing. The school usually sells videos of the productions. He tells me this show will be captioned. I am crossing my fingers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Deaf kid rocks the show..

So my son is in full swing in his dinner Comedia show. Five shows in and life is good. He is the only Deaf kid in the show and guess what.......the sold out audience never knows he is Deaf.

So I saw the show on Thurs. with some Deaf friends. His grandparents on Friday with his aunt. My husband and daughter have to wait until Friday next week when we go as a family. I have been asked not to review the show until they see it. They never said I couldn't talk about what happens off stage so in true mama style I just have to blog a wee bit about it. Yes I am proud and you may wish to click back at this point because I intend to document my pride for my son. Nothing worse than a mama bragging.

The original script had dialogue for him. My son didn't want to work with an interpreter on stage. He wanted to keep the audience in the magic of the story without distraction. He has seen Deaf stage productions before from Deaf West and had some tools to work with. He worked with the director, explaining how Deaf actors work. His character became a mute. He still delivers the lines but with his movement. It works so well that after the show tonight audience members came to talk to him and he would point to his ear. He tells me it was funny because one person just nodded and started to shout real slow. He is so amused that they just couldn't grasp he was really deaf and not in character. The cast comes up to help him and the audience folks are floored that a deaf kid is in the show. They had no idea.

In the third act he gets on a table and laments that the show doesn't appreciate him. He taught the director to us an actor on stage to voice for him, not the interpreter. He also delivers the lines in nonsense sign. If a Deaf person is watching they would never know he is deaf. He is proud to be Deaf but if he signs ASL the magic is broken. Funny beacause at school he was so in character he leaped on a table during their advertisement and got the staff director in trouble. When he puts on his mask he becomes his character. Uh we don't stand on tables when real folks are eatiing.

I volunteered this morning and tonight and while I was chopping cilantro another mom told us she saw the show yesterday. First she said the Julio character was awesome. Then she said
"That little deaf kid is amazing, he is so funny and so talented I didn."
Me, "That's my son Haddy!"
She was surprised and then went on to gush, gush gush about his work. She already knew about him because her daughter is in his humanities class and talks about him at home. She said if she didn't already know she would of guessed he was hearing. Then other parents start to tell me how their kids love having him at school. The stories just keep going. They were all startled I was his mom, we just met. Not one person I met expects him to talk. Deaf is cool.

While prepping the matinee I was setting tables and one of his interpreters was following me while I worked. We talked about his "Jaberwocky" interpretation. She tells me she has never seen a deaf kid do what he did. He saw the text and asked if it was suppose to make sense. She tells him what the concept is in very broad terms and then he asked her to let him work. His "Jabberwockey" is his own work. She was amazed she didn't need to come up with his work for this. He kicked butt on it.

Later I worked the back of the house dishing food. I saw how the actors had a whole system of communication with him backstage. I saw how they played with him joking about, and how they really liked him. I saw how he lost a hat and the whole company helped him find it. They are mostly High School seniors and they treat him like a little brother. I saw how they all encouraged each other and he was involved. It was not patronizing, he was part of the family. I saw him work out a gag with another actor with no interpreter backstage in pigeon. He had two really qualified interpreters backstage but he didn't need them.

After curtain call at 9:54 I asked the director if he was doing OK . She told me , " I love that kid" , not "I love that deaf kid". His class schedule has changed so now he is in her humanities class during the day. He has a really cool theater mentor.

He had a matinee and a seven o'clock show today. They also had a photo shoot between the shows. My kiddo is gassed out right now at home but he was present and professional all day. He has found his place.

I am so tired, I learned from the other parents tonight that a 12 hour day volunteering is normal on show nights....good news

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

But He Lives In A Hearing World , continued


"If you expect to have perfect children
you will be constantly disappointed
and your children
constantly frustrated
If you realize that your children
are perfectly themselves
in every moment,
you and your children
will be at peace

Step back and watch.
You will see that Life
naturally perfects itself"

William Martin
The Parent's Tao Te Ching

"but he lives in a hearing world"

"His family is hearing"

"He needs to learn how to survive in the hearing world and the hearing world talks"

" How will he get a job in the hearing world if he doesn't speak?"

Well yes, most of the world does hear. He also lives in a Chinese, blind, Hindu, republican, vegetarian, capitalist, mall shopping, fast food, pro wrestling world. The world is a big place and full of all kinds of diversity.

It always struck me as odd when I would talk with other parents. For the most part they seemed really concerned their deaf child would be isolated from the world and unable to get a job if they couldn't talk. Learning ASL floated to the bottom of the list.

Here is how I saw it. If a child has a first language from birth and social peers the chances are great they would be able to navigate the world and yes, find a job. Think about people you have worked with or interviewed for a position. Myself I have interviewed many people and there are some things that make it easy to pick a good candidate for a job.

Confidence is key. Not arrogance but confidence. A confident person makes people feel comfortable. They can easily engage all sorts of people and don't criticize to a fault.

Team player, someone who works well with others and can give and take information.

Critical thinker, someone who can problem solve and think on their feet.

Those a a few things I would look for and I am left to wonder how one acquires these traits. If a child is allowed to interact socially with peers they learn the rules and have the tools to express appropriate social behavior.

I was working with a hearing three year old who has no expressive verbal English. In order to interact with other child she was very physical. If she wanted to join a building game she would grab a block and push it towards her playmate. It was her way of asking to join in. The other child would get upset about the rough behavior and distance himself. She would retract and go to sit and watch the other children play.

What does this do for a child's confidence? While learning to sign she started to be able to engage more. Her peers were also learning to sign so the door of social interaction is opened. A child who has the ability to express themselves freely will engage in all sorts of creative play. This type of play involves negotiation and compromise. If a child doesn't have the language this sort of play can't happen.

For my son he needed peers who also were using ASL. He needed to learn complex rules to imaginary games and how to share and work together. In his early years he needed a deaf environment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm just itching my nose or how we found Deaf culture

Some folks have recently asked me about our Deaf world experience. How did we jump in? Well it is a very complicated story but here are a couple of thoughts. I will be writing more about this later.

About 11 years ago......

Learning ASL 11 years ago was a challenge and an adventure. The funny thing looking back is how nervous we were to jump in and communicate in sign with Deaf people. We forced ourselves to get past our fear because our son needed us to. I now see many parents do an awkward dance when the are in this situation. My advice is jump in when they are young so you don't end up years later having people interpret for you for your own child. Give yourself a break if you mess up because really that is how you learn.

I remember trying so hard to follow conversations and sometimes getting so lost. It could maybe be going so well, I am focused and engaged, and then 2 signs I didn't know and I was lost. Hanging on a thread of what was already said scrambling to catch up . I wonder if that is what it feels like for my son sometimes? I would sometimes in the early times get so tired that I didn't want to catch up and only hide.

I would watch , trip, scramble and hide.

My eyes would shift maybe and gloss over. A smile and nod on my part and then....I was caught. Every Deaf person I know can tell when someone doesn't understand or is not "listening".

"Do you understand me?" the person who's word are full of meaning, the person who deserves to be heard, the person who will not ignore the distant look in my eyes asks.

"sorry " I admit.

I learned that I must stop my friends and ask for clarification. I learned I must never pretend I understand to comfort myself. My Deaf friends can sense the minute I get lost. This leads me to one of our first mentors...

I met this really cool college student when we were presenters for an Early education class around when my son was just learning to walk. He was one of several Deaf students who offered to help us after the presentation. I had the district hire him as a mentor. He came to our house the first time and told us his story. It was so awesome to have this person share his life and shed some light on what our son would be experiencing. At one point I was so focused I saw him sign something with the index finger on the side of his nose. Well crap! I need clarification,

"Wait, what is that sign?"
"this- repeat( index finger on side of nose)"
"I was just itching my nose"


I just got an email the other day from my son's first babysitters. We haven't seen her in about eight years since we moved from L.A. She was a really important person for us . We met her by asking the Early Intervention folks for a referral for a Deaf babysitter. We wanted to go see a parent panel but they didn't have child care provided. Of course they didn't have a list of Deaf babysitters because hearing parents never ask for that but after asking around they found someone who babysits for a Deaf family. They basically told us to try her at our own risk and that they didn't know her. Well we did and she became a close friend. She invited us to Deaf social events and made sure our son was surrounded by Deaf culture. At first it was awkward trying to understand her east coast dialect when we were so new to ASL but the work paid off because we were welcomed into this new world with another great guide.

So she is going to visit this area soon and I can't wait to see her!

Monday, February 15, 2010

But he lives in a Hearing world!

For years I have sat patiently and listened to hearing parents of deaf children lament, testify, proclaim and shout that their deaf children live in a hearing world.

Yes they do.

They also live in a Christian, Atheist, republican, democrat, black, white, gay, straight, fat, skinny, short, tall world. They live in a world full of different cultures and yes, languages. They live in a world full of ignorance and enlightenment.

I do not see any point in trying to make my Deaf son more like others. In fact I am joyful in his unique presence in this world.

This world that I believe has room for all of us.


I guess this is on my mind because of a text I received from my son at 3:17pm,
"Hey, I wasn't suppose to be here til 6:30"
Me: "OK, I will come get u"
Him: "No don't I'm fine"

Why is that so interesting?

Well he is in the middle of six day rehearsals for a play at his school. His school is only a few blocks away from our house. He is the only middle school principal character and the only Deaf student at this school. Tonight he arrived on time at 3pm for the start of the rehearsal day but 3 1/2 hours early for his scenes. The interpreters don't arrive until 6:30. So my Deaf son wanted to hang out at rehearsal with no interpreters rather than come home.

He comes tumbling out of every rehearsal goofing off with his high school friends. He is usually in one of the last groups of kids to leave and I always see the interpreters leave well before him. My Deaf son is a native ASL signer with no speech (well he does say poop) and yet he manages to find a place for himself in the Hearing world. He doesn't do this by trying to act hearing or by changing who he is. He does this by being exactly who he is.

So my Deaf kid has chosen for now to live mostly in the hearing world because that is where he gets to live an artistic life. That is where he is finding artistic peers. Of course we feel grateful that this school exists. He wears his deafness as a matter of fact. I never imagined this would be his path but I am joyful he has the power to chose on his terms.

About 4 years ago......

We always made sure our son had what we couldn't give him because of the simple fact that we are not deaf. He attended a deaf school and we socialize with Deaf families. We have depended on this for years and it was a family choice. When he was about 8 he started to get bored at school. By the time he was nine he had many interests he didn't share with the other kids. By 5th grade it was very clear he needed a change. It is important to note the Deaf community had been telling me this since he was 8 but I just couldn't imagine him being happy without his community close by. I lived in fear that he would be isolated or worse yet bullied by the hearing kids. What I now know is that because he has a strong Deaf community and was raised with his Deaf self being accepted he is very confident so when he goes out into the Hearing world he presents Haddy not deaf. He has lived a life so far knowing his deafness is just part of him so it doesn't hold him back. We are very aware that the school he attends is special but so is he.

His path is his own. Not all deaf children will choose this direction but it is a beautiful thing when they are respected for the choices they make. It is a beautiful thing when they are allowed to follow their path.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Foot In Mouth

I recently met a really nice woman in an environment which had no connection to the Deaf world. She had overheard a conversation I was having about my son's rehearsal schedule and interpreters with my mom. She asked about his deafness. I am used to this and don't mind at all. Why should I, he is wonderful and happy.

I rambled off my usual reply that he was born deaf but has no real limitations. He is very happy at the arts school, we use ASL, a lot of folks don't but it works well for us.....blah, blah, blah. As I spoke about my son I was maybe showing a little pride ( I try not to but it may slip out a bit) I saw her eyes slightly well up. She looked very fragile all of the sudden and then she told me something I couldn't have guessed.

Her granddaughter is deaf. Her granddaughter is deaf and doesn't sign. She thought the school she was attending was teaching her to sign but she just found out it is an oral program. She uses hearing aides but still misses a lot. They don't have in depth conversations so when I gave her an example of what a conversation might look like with my son she became sad. Today my son wanted to debate health myths. He tells me research shows you don't need 8 glasses of water a day, TV does not kill brain cells and people shouldn't sleep too much. I don't imagine this woman would be able to do this with her grand daughter. She showed me an example of her conversations and I got a wee bit uncomfortable.

She tells me the teachers at her granddaughter's school suggested other placement since she is behind academically and not progressing with her speech. The director of the district program disagreed so she will not be moved. I felt the urgent desire to help this child. After giving grandma some ideas and information I found out the parents have little support and at times don't follow through. The more I listened the more helpless I felt. Grandma wants to learn to sign but the classes are expensive and her schedule doesn't fit. I told her they could move near the state school and get more services. She didn't respond. We moved for our kids so it seems natural for me but not all families have that luxury.

This child is 8 years old. Her family doesn't sign and she has "a few signs". She is behind academically and does not communicate in depth with others. Her family is not a tribe of advocates. I felt helpless knowing what I know. I wish I could turn back time and take my foot out of my mouth. I wish I would of just replied, "Yes, he is deaf".

Friday, February 5, 2010

So he is Deaf and an actor in a hearing play.......?

My son is the only middle school kid (grade 6 the others are in high school) In an original Comedia Del'Arte play. This means there is a script but it involves a lot of improve. He is the only Deaf kid. When he auditioned he was told they never cast sixth graders but the audition process would be a good experience. Well the director loved him. So now comes the question of how will they fit a Deaf kid into a principal role? Yea, principal meaning he has a big part.

I ask myself how does this work . It is 3/4 stage which means there are tables, did I mention it is dinner theater, almost all around the stage. It is a comedy and language isa tool. The actors wear comedia masks so expression is delivered through the body. Facial expression is important for ASL. How will a kid who communicates though ASL be able to convey his lines with out the use of his face? What about the interpreters? To be perfectly honest I know he can act but I was surprised that the director was so willing to bring him on.

One thing I am curious about is how will the interpreters work the show? He has a team of two and they will not be the interpreters for the audience. When the show is audience interpreted will the stage be full of interpreters? I found out his will be back stage.....hmmm... how will he know his cues?

Well I recently went to a theater showcase at the school and I got a taste of what is to come. My son is taking the mandatory intro theater class along with the role he has in the theater company. His class preformed a little ditty from Lewis Carroll's poem from "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There "

"Jabberwockey" here is a bit of what was preformed with voice and movement,

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."

To quote Alice, "It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it, "but it's rather hard to understand!"

Well the hearing kids did their thing moving and talking with strong rhythm and my son was up front to the right signing this poem. The space he filled was full of narrative and magic. His body looked bigger than it did in the morning and his ASL more artistic. There was such passion and confidence in his space. I am not allowed to video any show at this school but I wish I could. There are really no words in English to describe what I saw. The spell was broken for a moment when someone right behind me said, " Do you see that girl up there? She is using sign language I think, wow that is so beautiful". Well you see my son has hair to his shoulders in keeping with his Comedia play and he has to tie it back for other shows. It just so happens he looks like a pretty girl if you don't get up close and see the boyish features and surfer clothes . I wanted to turn and say ,
" That is my SON!" but I let it go so they could enjoy the show and not get rapped up in our lives.

Right before intermission there was a "commercial" or sneak peek at the Comedia show. My son was the featured principal.

What happened next was a complete surprise. The Cuban music quartet and my son were working the stage as if it was their home. The hearing actors were talking and he moved seamlessly with them. When it was over I realized there was no interpreting. I had no idea a Deaf kid had just lead the show. He hadn't sign a word............and yet with a mask I knew what he said with out a sign. So I had just a taste but realized language is universal in some ways when we experience art.

The show opens soon. I will be curious still to see how he fits but more how they pulled off the magic of a great show. If you are close by the interpreted show is Feb. 20th at noon and the tickets are reduced for that show $12. He really wants some deaf people to come.

order tickets here,