Catherine and Irene have been friends for a long time, but after Catherine’s experience of domestic violence, the two friends begin to drift apart.
Deafferent’s production of Black is the Colour by Daniel Keene focuses squarely on communication and how sometimes we don’t have the words to articulate our own experiences. The two lead actors, Anna Seymour and Hilary Fisher, are Deaf; the entire show is signed in Auslan (and surtitled for the hearing audience).
It’s a bold choice to use such a dialogue-heavy play as Deafferent’s first production. As a hearing person, I spent a lot of time reading those surtitles, but was occasionally swept up in the movement of the Auslan. Theatre is a physical medium and the lyrical signing is a sight to behold.
There is little lost in translation, though. Keene’s story of two friends becoming estranged is very moving. And there are moments when the physicality transcends the words; both the hearing and non-hearing audiences are left to interpret movement, without a word exchanged or anything more than a silent scream between the two women.