Yesterday was Bush Bounce, an event in association with IdeasTap, held at the Bush Theatre and curated by Sabrina Mahfouz. It brought together artists of different disciplines and offered us an opportunity to showcase our work in response to the stimuli of sight, society and sound. Sounds great, don't it? It was! The other artists' work was absolutely incredible - poetry, performance installations, music, monologues and Mars bars!
My response was a play about the relationship between a deaf man and a hearing woman and it came from a desire to see more sign language in theatre and in public consciousness. Why are sign translations of television programmes only on in the middle of the night? Why isn't British Sign Language offered as a language option in British schools?
So, with this play I wanted to ask the difficult question of whether a relationship between an 'able' person and a 'disabled' person is equal. How do we define what is 'disabled'? This is an incredibly challenging thing to approach, and I'm still struggling with it, but I feel it is important. Discrimination is something I can't make peace with, but it will exist until people stop thinking in terms of 'able' and 'disabled' - also race, religion, nationality, background - and start thinking in terms of the person; the human.
A month ago this was all theory, but last night a short exploration of these themes was performed. It has taken a month of hard work, arguments, laughter, worry, #BSLbanter and I'm pretty sure I've bruised a rib... but the performance went really well! We got some feedback from Madani Younis after the dress rehearsal and made some very last minute cuts. I was so proud of Kate and Dwane as they performed it seamlessly as though the scenes were never there. Clever sausages!
The audience gave us some great feedback - encouraging comments and useful criticisms - and said that they would like to see it developed into a full length production, which I am so pleased (and relieved) about!
It has been wonderful to have the support and critique of people who really know what they are talking about and I've learnt a lot. I set out to create something brutal and beautiful, and I feel as though we have made baby steps towards this.
In terms of the future, I'm going to keep working hard and hopefully one day you'll be able to come see TORQUE as a full-length play!
I'll keep you all updated...