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Deaf actors hope play will help bridge gap with the hearing
Published Sunday, February 3, 2019 8:31PM EST
A group of deaf artists in Saskatchewan is putting on a new play that they hope will help them bridge the gap with people who can hear.
Shayla Tanner is one of the actors in “Apple Time,” which is being mounted this week by the Deaf Crows Collective at Regina’s Globe Theatre.
Tanner told CTV Regina that she knew nothing about deaf culture until she moved to the city from a First Nation reserve for high school.
“My family, they’re all hearing and I’m the only deaf one,” she said through an interpreter. “I’m alone.”
It’s an isolating experience communicated through her role in the play.
“I’m a wolf and my family are eagles and they fly and soar and chat, but me, as a wolf, I don’t understand, I don’t have that connection,” she explained.
The play is performed in American Sign Language but has captions in multiple languages so that it’s accessible to parents of deaf newcomers acting in the show.
Allard Thomas, an ASL Adviser and deaf elder, says that the play also helps deaf people improve their communication skills.
“In my experience, so many deaf are isolated and we need to get them together in a group so they can socialize and develop an understanding,” he said.
That’s especially important in Saskatchewan where there is no school for deaf children, he said.
Director Chrystene Ells said she hopes the play will help create more allies for deaf people “who could support the things that they need, for example deaf education.”