Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Deaf Versus Dumb

Good news for thesp equality -- the BBC have cast a deaf Actress to star in its latest thriller, The Silence, which looks rather like Wait Until Dark with an aural handicap rather than a visual one posing problems for its leading lady. Genevieve Barr is the woman in question, and the series is going to presumably come out in the Spring, when the BBC go into their serious programming mode.

Bad news for thesp equality -- Just this week, the casting of a hearing actor in the deaf leading role of a New York production of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter has sparked controversy.

This argument has been going on for a long time, and reminds me of Marlee Matlin, who is sadly one of the few deaf Actors I remember seeing oncscreen. Her performance in Children of a Lesser God I liked, even if I consider her Best Actress Oscar win a bit much since I'd bury it at the bottom of a pile of great performances from 1986 (by Isabella Rosselini, Marie Riviere, Sissy Spacek, Helena Bonham Carter, among others). Nevertheless, I caught a special edition of See Hear where she talks about her achievements and she seems a very clever woman, who has been very vocal about casting issues. These two examples perhaps suggests that more needs to be vocalised, or some kind of legislation employed to prevent deaf actors being ignored.

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