Groundbreaking Everyman Theatre Production Helps Audience Members Find Their Voices

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Our ability to express ourselves is sometimes called “our voice.”

As Mike Schuh reports, the Everyman Theatre has brought in a deaf actor to help us hear and find our voices.

John McGinty is lead actor of the Everyman Theatre production of “Tribes.” He is also deaf.

In one scene, McGinty’s character, Billy, lashes out at his family for not bothering to learn or teach him sign language. It’s a speech the audience hears because his girlfriend is translating to his family.

“My life experience is very similar to Billy: trying to figure out how I fit in to a hearing family, figuring out how to communicate, all of that. And that brings a real authenticity to it. And I try to share that with the audience,” said McGinty.

The play is about struggle, deafness and finding one’s voice.

The actual script scrolls along so the hard of hearing and deaf patrons can more easily enjoy the show.

“Deaf people who normally had depended upon sign language interpreted performances to come to the show now can come to any show that they want, just like a hearing person,” said Tim McCarty, Director of Accessibility.

The artistic director is proud of the groundbreaking technology.

“I don’t know of another theatre that uses it yet.  We are one of the first–anywhere,” said Vincent Lancisi, artistic director.

Between a deaf character — played by a deaf actor finding his voice — and those who can’t hear finding new meaning, Everyman reminds us, the work is for all of us.

“It has a happy ending, and it’s a journey really worth taking. Audience members feel changed by coming to see this. It really speaks to them,” said Lancisi.

There are 23 performances left before the play closes on June 22.

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