DaDaFest BSL Video
 
 
 
14 Nov 2018

‘Perception of Time’ – the backstory to Katy McGunigle’s new play for DaDaFest International Scratch Night

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‘Perception of Time’ is a short play based on true life events. It started life as a project to help me do something with my time following 15 months of treatment for breast cancer. It was selected to be part of an audio event produced by the Art Clinic as part of the Liverpool Fringe Festival in June 2018. 

Whilst promoting the audio play and the Art Clinic’s event, I spoke about what I had been up to on BBC Radio Merseyside’s Sean Styles show. During this interview, Sean asked me what other plans I had with regards to writing. There on air, for all to hear, came the reply…. 

’Well I’m going to produce it for DaDaFest International as a play in both English and British Sign Language.’ 

‘We have Deaf friends who have been affected by cancer and one thing we know is that this disease does not discriminate.’ Please bear in mind, I have spent the previous 30 years working in Health and Social Care and had not written or produced anything like this before in my life! Note to self…be careful what you say on air! 

Fortunately, DaDaFest liked my play and I was offered a slot in their Scratch Night, where new writers are given the opportunity to showcase their work and get feedback from audience members. Now the hard work began. 

With the support of DaDaFest, The Merseyside Society for the Deaf and friends and family, rehearsals are now well under way. Denise Armstrong, has taken the lead role as Katy, a Deaf character and Kate Henry has been cast as Lucy, Katy’s hearing friend. Both are established actors and it is a joy working with them in particular on how we incorporate both BSL and the English language. A third actor, Michelle Anderson, has been cast as the voice over for Denise’s BSL performance. This is Kate and Michelle’s’ first experience of working with BSL and their enthusiasm and ability to learn has been amazing to watch. 

I first wanted to produce a dual language play for one reason: Quite simply…so my Deaf friends could come and see the play! 

However, what has come from this already is so much more. Denise Armstrong commented on the power of Sign Theatre to show the characterisation of Katy's hidden thought and painful challenging journey of cancer through her eyes. This process has also brought about a greater understanding of the Deaf for two hearing actors, allowing two more people learning sign language in an informal, fun way. I have also been talking to staff at the MSDP about whether or not cancer is talked about enough in the Deaf community. 

Join Katy and the other emerging artists performing their work at Scratch Night Jordan Connerty, Amina Atiq, Paul Bettany and Scott Lewis and help shape their work.

Buy your ticket www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk/whats-on/dadafest-18-scratch.html

 


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