WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS TO A QUIET PLACE
Krasinski and his crew put a special emphasis on sound in A Quiet Place, working to capture the natural rush of waving corn stalks and the beat of strategic steps on soft earth. But the director plays with his audience as well, planting us in Regan’s perspective mere minutes into the film. As the family treks home from the pharmacy, the soundtrack drops out, leaving behind only a microphone hum, and we experience Regan’s hearing loss for ourselves. It is peaceful. We are reoriented to the visual cues surrounding her, to the attention she gives her parents, to the beauty of the rural landscape. But we also see a danger she did not anticipate, simply because it is happening behind her back.
Performers in this production learned clowning fundamentals, sign language, and in many cases they acted as interpreters for their stage counterparts. The commitment to inclusion for performers and audience members of all abilities is groundbreaking for Chicago, and inspiring to be a part of, even if it’s just to learn the symbol for ‘alone’ (an index finger held at chest level) or being asked by a woodland mutant to hold onto their signed letter ‘G’ as they distribute Red’s love letters.
In ‘World Builders’, Max (Andrew Cutler) and Whitney (Carmen Molina) are in treatment for a shared personality disorder that renders them both fixated on internal worlds of their own creation. Alone they are socially isolated, focused so much on the maintenance of their private internal retreats that they may be a danger to themselves, but they’re brought together for an experimental treatment designed to quell their internal worlds until they fade away.
It’s a rare, powerful thing to experience an authentic difference in ability in the titular Richard, or to see the disparaging remarks levied on him by friends and enemies directed to an actor that may have a passing familiarity. Rare and powerful is exactly how I’d describe The Gift Theatre’s “Richard III”. This production does more than entertain, it empowers us to demand more representation of long under-represented artists from the theater we see.
Once in a great while, a stage production makes a fantastic impression and the daunting work behind it seems almost effortless. Goodman Theatre’s “The Matchmaker” is charming, delightful and homespun, but for a comedy penned in the 1950’s, this particular telling has a remarkable 2016-era social consciousness. This “Matchmaker” features a cast that is diverse in age, gender, ethnicity and ability, and takes a certain delight in creating an ensemble that is unique and unlikely.
This production features both deaf and hearing actors, super titles for some more intricate exchanges, and interpreters as needed for audience members. The concept that Sawyer and Bauer have concocted involves more than just comprehension; they want to immerse every person in the history, culture and stigmas of deafness.
Patrons of all mobilities could mingle at bar-side tables, and pods of cozy chairs, and films were aired on multiple screens each with audio and visual aids. Guests at-large joined via mobile video units and mingled as well as the event’s organizer and emcee Reveca Torres of Backbones (a local organization supporting spinal cord injury/disease) welcomed us to a night of short films unlike any other.
Pathways 2015 brought a diverse group of blind and visually impaired youth from all over Chicagoland. Students began by meeting the Pathways staff, reuniting with friends from previous summers, as well as meeting new friends.
"Amir Rabiyah opens the show with a spoken word exploration of being queer, disabled, trans and juggling multiple identities. In a prayer, Rabiyah implores listeners to stop asking chronically ill to ‘get well soon’. “Being sick forever terrifies people,” Rabiyah says, and dozens of snapping fingers echo the sentiment."
Ask any member of the artistic team behind “The Forgiving and The Forgetting”, a new musical about one family’s struggle to embrace and accept Alzheimer’s disease, why they chose to get involved, and they will point not to a reason, but a person.