Friday, October 24, 2014

Speech vs Sign: Bell vs Gallaudet

A new musical opening tonight explores the conflict over teaching methods for the deaf between Alexander Graham Bell and Edward Gallaudet more than 100 years ago. Visible Language features a cast made up of deaf and hearing actors, and offers a combination of ASL and spoken English. Gallaudet was the first president of the college that bears his last name while Alexander Graham Bell is known for having invented the telephone. Gallaudet approved of sign language while Bell discouraged it in favor of lip reading and attempts at spoken English among the deaf. The musical hopes to get past traditional views in the deaf community of both men and let the facts speak for themselves. Visible Language can be seen now through November 16th at Gallaudet University's Gilbert C. Eastman Studio Theatre in Washington, DC. There's more information here. The video below shows construction of the set in time-lapse photography.

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