Unique show features hearing and deaf actors, interpreters

Unique show features hearing and deaf actors, interpreters

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By Robin Murdoch
FOX 2 News Reporter


ROCHESTER, Mich. -- It's a cutting edge creation that caters to all crowds.  Whether you hear it or just see it, Oakland University and TerpTheatre's latest production "Police : Deaf :: Near : Far" is far from typical.

"'Police : Deaf :: Near : Far' is mostly about relationships, romantic relationships between deaf and hearing people.  Relationships between the deaf community and the police community.  And it's about how we're challenged in all kinds of relationships to make better choices and to be more inclusive," said Karen Sheridan, a theatre professor at Oakland University.

The unique show includes both hearing and deaf actors, along with interpreters.  It gives everyone who comes out an experience Michigan made and made to remember.

"It's sort of like if you as a hearing person went to see a movie that was captioned, but the captioning was off to the side instead of on the screen and you had to keep looking at the captioning, looking at the screen.  That's how it feels when the interpreter's off to the side.  We're included in the play so that the deaf people can actually watch the play.  We bring the focus back to the actors," said TerpTheatre managing partner Shelly Tocco.

Auditions for "Police : Deaf :: Near : Far" took place weeks ago.  Some even happened via Skype with actors as far away as New York.

Once word got out about what was happening, everyone wanted in.

"In the beginning, we had no idea the level of interest that there would be, and as soon as we announced that we were doing this production, we began to receive calls from out of town.  And so, as producers and directors and people involved in a production, they saw responsibility to try to seek the best talent possible," said TerpTheatre managing partner Dan McDougal.

An actor who starred on Broadway eventually landed one of the lead roles.

"I thought he was fabulous.  He was well prepared for the audition.  He captured the nuances of the script that we gave him," Tocco said.

The show itself will capture the attention of audiences at Oakland University's Varner Hall through October 14.  It's a play to learn from and live by no matter if you say it or sign it.

"For us to bring a deaf theatre project to Detroit feels very natural, too, because we do have this rich history of theater here," McDougal said.

For more information about "Police : Deaf :: Near : Far", visit www.oakland.edu/theatre.

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