by Dan Savage
on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I wanted to highlight this comment on my Friday post defending my play Miracle! (now closed) from an outraged critic who claimed—without bothering to see the show—that it mocked the deaf and deaf-blind:
I was at the Thursday night performance of Miracle! and I'm one of the deaf people Dan saw at the post-play discussion. (I'm also on the board of Deaf Spotlight) There was a discussion FB about a month ago, in our community, initiated by a deaf-blind person, who read Zoe's comments and was very upset with what this play seemed to be saying about Helen Keller, and by proxy, deaf-blind people. A healthy discussion followed, admittedly by people who'd never seen the performance. I had requested an interpreter for this and other plays for Intiman's summer festival, so I suggested, despite my own trepidations (based on what Zoe said) that we all keep an open mind and go see the interpreted performance. Well, quite a few did, as Dan said, including the deaf-blind person that initiated the discussion, who promised to keep an open mind. He'd never seen a drag show send-up of well-known movies and plays, a staple of the '80's and '90's. By the time the intermission rolled around, he was a convert, telling me that he was not insulted at all, and thought the play was hilarious. The play actually makes Helen's story humane and universal; another interpreter friend who saw the play earlier said it seems more a indictment of the system of educating the deaf than it is about Helen Keller. The interpreters were having a great time. I thought the play was absolutely a hoot to watch. (And yes, Deaf Spotlight would like to explore the possibility of opening the play to a wider audience in the community.)
Miracle! closed on Saturday night—but other theaters in other cities have expressed an interest in mounting the show. And I'll pass the script on to Deaf Spotlight just as soon as I have a chance to make a few tweaks.