Collaboration with Deaf Writer Charlie Swinbourne: Developing the Story
In this project I have decided to collaborate with the award-winning, Deaf freelance writer Charlie Swinbourne, well known in the community for his work that includes: writing scripts for plays and TV series, running the popular deaf news site The Limping Chicken, and writing in columns online and in mainstream publications like The Guardian.
I wanted to enlist Charlie’s support in my project because of his expertise and - being a Deaf person himself - already has the knowledge and experience of growing up deaf in a hearing world, which correlates to the themes of this project. As mentioned before - I changed the story from last year. In May and June, I spent a lot of time with Charlie and by myself, thinking, writing and discussing how I could make the storyline more intimate on a personal level, with deeper messages, narrowing down the broad Dystopian theme I developed previously. It was at times frustrating - trying to push forward, but not being sure how to.
And apart from experimenting with movement ideas, I couldn’t really plan specific dance choreography until I had a clearer idea of how the story needed to be told. I really wanted the story to have a lasting impact on the audience.
I want them - especially the hearing audiences - to understand the frustration and anger that deaf individuals feel in their childhood. For me, the most important thing was creating something that the audience would remember long after watching the show, something that would make them question themselves. Eventually, after a few sessions with Charlie, and with advice from Deaf Explorer chairman and story-teller Rinkoo Barpaga, I learned that what people really want to see is my story - my very own personal experiences.
"I learned that what people really want to see is my story - my very own personal experiences."
From their (Charlie and Rinkoo’s) experiences in theatre - I learned that the personal experience is far more unique and interesting than a generic story that’s been told many times over. And besides, it’s much easier to tell my own story, than to create one that challenges reality by being set in a futuristic world that’s loaded with high-tech gadgetry and science fiction.