How an echo became an echo

Photo of a woman and a man who has a sticker across his mouth.

Glasgow-based Deaf Youth Theatre group, Solar Bear Theatre Company, are bringing their latest production to audiences this Autumn – and they want you to embrace it. Using new technology for deaf and hard of hearing performers, ‘Kind of Silence’, will take you on a personal journey that nobody else can experience in the same way. And the story it tells is something quite magical.

Creatives and a cast of hearing and deaf performers bring you the story of Echo and Narcisuss in a fusion of movement, text and sound. The mythological Greek story tells of a beautiful gossiping nymph, Echo, who must always have the last word, and the handsome Narcissus, whom she falls in love with and is rejected by, for he loves only his reflection. Both characters are cursed and diminish, but their legacy lives on as the echo and the narcissus flower that lingers by reflective pools of water.

‘Kind of Silence’ adapts this story and explores the contrast between different characters who are stuck in their own kinds of loops, be it visual or aural or something else. The star of this show however is not a performer or creative; it is a piece of kit called a SubPac. This innovative new piece of technology acts as a personal subwoofer to performers by communicating the lowest notes in the musical spectrum to the cast and crew. It is incredibly immersive and lets you feel the music, even if it seems silent to you. Why is this so special? Rather than deaf and hearing performers working to different accessible aspects during the performance, they all access the sounds in the same way. This means that in theory, both hearing and deaf performers have the same performing experience, which should result in a flawless piece of theatre that is inclusive to the entire cast.

‘The world is silent. Music is everywhere’.

The sounds that the performers and audience experience come from Alon Ilsar, who performs using his own instrument, Air Sticks, which he created using video game controller technology. As a lover of electronic music and drums, Ilsar wanted to break down the limitations that exist with music kit by creating this bespoke instrument that would give him instant access to any type of snare drum he could wish for, without having to switch kit around. His style is movement and gesture based which amplifies the sensory experience of the production.

‘Kind of Silence’ is touring in September before joining Progression 2015, a two-day celebration of deaf arts. The performance is suitable for ages 14+ and is accessible for deaf and hard of hearing audiences. You can find the tour dates for ‘Kind of Silence’ here.

Tags: theatre

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