Dissertation wise we are furthering our work on gesture and we are also exploring how communication is effected by the removal of senses. Today we tried to remove our sense of hearing and also taking away the ability to speak as we have also done.
We tried different ways of obscuring our hearing, but found we weren’t able to become a 100% deaf (However, I’ve also learnt that being deaf does not always mean having no hearing at all) we decided that two of our group would would try to communicate to each other; they could talk but couldn’t hear. The other two could hear but couldn’t talk and would have to translate through gesture what the two wanted to communicate to the other person who couldn’t hear. The two that could talk were able to talk through the gestures so that the meaning could be communicated.
It was a very interesting experience but also very hard. Sometimes the sentences could not be translated completely, some words were too abstract their didn’t seem a direct gesture to accompany it. We resorted to some spelling, using a table as a backdrop to the letters, mime and gestures that communicated one word that was similar to the word we wanted. We also started to establish some signs as we made out way and experimented through the sentences, e.g. I made a circle with my thumb and finger and arced my hand above my head, to simulate the rising and setting of the sun, to show a day had passed for the word ‘tomorrow’. After this was guessed, it was used later to mean the word ‘tomorrow’.
We gained a lot from this exercise and were quite excited by the failures and the difficulty of communication, suggesting that the difficulty of creating a new language after being used to the spoken language, but of its possibility and its creativity and performativity.
We may use this with some audience interaction e.g. get an audience member to say something we then had to communicate with gestures.
Also managed to get two of my essay grades back, one on the subject of authenticity in performance and art the other, for a module of New Theatre Writing in which I discussed how metaphor can be used as a language for mental illness in performance (a subject I wish to explore in performance further with puppets). I achieved an A for both, which has made me more confident in my theorising and ideas that I wish to explore further on a practical level.