Sunday, March 31, 2013

Photos of Def Meets Deaf Poetry Jam 5

On Saturday, March 30th, John Roche and I (Eddie Swayze) coordinated a 3 hour poetry/storytelling/performance show at Loving Cup. The crowd was in good numbers. Dangerous Signs started their skits doing Langston Hughes' poems - translated into ASL, ABC sign language acts (I joined them for the word ROBOT, acting as a robot), one original poem of mine "Bones", and they ended their skits with John Lennon's "Imagine" song in ASL. Hearing poets Wanda Schubmehl, Kitty Jopse, Catherine Feurot, and John Roche read their English poetry. Hearing RIT students performed under a group The RIT Slam Team and RIT poetry magazine Signature with 2 Signature Award winners reading their work. Deaf and hard of hearing performers came on: Vicki Nordquist doing her ABC storytelling, Matt Schwartz doing 2 signing-to-songs skits, Jojo Oberholtzer doing one signing-to-song performance, and Eddie Swayze (myself) performing his "Joyful Canine" poem along original electronic music, acting as a dog, and translating Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" poem into ASL. At the very end of the whole show, Luane Davis Haggerty had the audience participate along Dangerous Signs, using a hand shape, breathing in and out technique (theatrical warm-up), and encouraging the audience to throw their names, which few cast members in Dangerous Signs used their name letters to perform into objects or little stories, and so forth in ASL. 

There were great interpreters that helped the audience have access to both English and ASL. They were Miriam Lerner, Denise Herrara, Nora Beckestein, and few others. This kind of show is unique because it was combined with the deaf world and hearing world together by using English (the hearing performers) and ASL (the deaf performers) back and forth in which the interpreters were doing all along. It is rare to have an event that gives this kind of two world approach. The interpreters did a fabulous job.

All in all, this was a great 5th year show. DEAAF (Deaf Education of the Arts for African Families) had their donation jar and information materials set up during the whole show for the audience to donate, ask questions, join them as members, and so forth. DEAAF is a non-for-profit organization that funds and supports deaf and hard of hearing children in Africa to receive the education and school supplies that they need.

Here are the photographs for you all to enjoy.

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