Performer Sophie Stone and I were welcomed into Broadcasting House today, to be interviewed by Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Jenni came to see the show last night and said she’d enjoyed it very much. She spoke about a conversation she’d had with a member of the audience about the importance of having a Deaf or disabled presence on stage, and how this seems to be increasingly difficult. For me, this just highlights the significance of the work that Forest Forge theatre company are doing and long may they continue…
Our interview about the origins of Woman of Flowers and Sophie’s experience as being the first Deaf actor to train at RADA can be heard again here:
I have also guest blogged for What’s on Stage on the power of language and the shaping nature of words and stories…. You can read that here.
We’ve also been getting some lovely reviews and responses on the Forest Forge website. John Foster wrote:
An absolutely terrific production. Very powerful, evocative and gripping, laced with moments of humour, but brilliantly expressive in its performance, direction, and in the lyricism and poetry of the writing in a rich and complex play by Kaite O’Reilly. A wonderful piece of writing, gripping, moving, deeply evocative. The central performance by Sophie Stone-Rose was mesmerising, what a great actor, she held the attention throughout. The other performances were also very effective. The music and soundscape were haunting and disturbing, beautifully conceived and executed. A play embracing modern themes of slavery, power, communication and identity but also concerned with ancient elemental tensions with a powerful sense of landscape, the enclosed world of the forest, and insanity of isolation all deftly forged. Terrific set design by David Haworth and incisive beautifully orchestrated direction from Kirstie Davis. Challenging, provocative yet strangely timeless. Highly recommended.
Teresa Warren wrote how it had particular resonance for the Deaf community ‘
due to the natural attachment to sign language for many and the importance of having an internal voice which isn’t taken for granted by members of the Deaf community.’
Deepa Shastri wrote: ‘
I am a deaf sign language and use caption (surtitles) to access the dialogue and have to say that Forest Forge is a great example of their commitment to making the show inclusive (with theatricalized signing in some section.) Without the captions i would have not been able to follow the whole show…[which is] fantastic.’
These last two comments from our Deaf audience members mean a lot. As earlier posts have documented, Jean St Clair, Sophie Stone and I worked hard on re-imagining sections of my poetic text in visual language. It is gratifying to see our efforts and those of our director Kirstie Davis to tell an old story in innovative and accessible ways is appreciated by the audience we hoped to connect with.
Thanks to all for the insightful and encouraging comments. More can be seen on the company website
The production continues on tour until 1st November.