Reviewed by Paula Citron
Silent Words is a brave play. The one-man show, on tour from Edmonton, is written and directed by Ashley Wright, and performed by hearing impaired actor Chris Dodd.
Wright made a clear artistic decision. At the begging of the play, sentences have surtitles. Then just certain key words have titles, and finally, the audience only has Dodd’s compelling signing and speaking performance.
Had there been surtitles throughout, our attention would have been diverted from Dodd’s heartfelt tale about a town and its people, and a piano prodigy who goes deaf from a childhood illness. Instead, we the audience are cleverly forced into the position of being hearing challenged. At a certain point, Dodd’s impassioned performance becomes like an abstract dance.
The curtains of Narda McCarroll’s lovely set of many windows are beautifully lit by Michael Kruse in a swatch of colours, while Darrin Hagen’s sound meshes perfectly with the text.
Silent Words continues at Tarragon Theatre Extra Space until Apr. 25.
Written and directed by Ashley Wright
Starring Chris Dodd
Photo Credit: Michael Kruse
Tarragon Theatre Extra Space, Apr. 15 to 25, 2010