Signs of life: how deaf theatre can reinvigorate the spoken word
Fourteen years ago I went to Exeter to see Jenny Sealey’s signed staging of The Changeling. I still recall the scene between Beatrice and De Flores when the appalled realisation dawns on both of them that they have misunderstood the other’s intention: she suddenly understands that he doesn’t want her money but her body; he twigs that she sees him merely as a paid assassin, not as a potential lover. What made it so vivid was the signing, which added layer upon layer to the drama, multiplying the gaps between the way we interpret language and misconstrue intention. The signing wasn’t a distraction, it was a bonus that added to our understanding of the drama, whether we could hear the text or not.