"She speaks with her hands, a beautiful language"

Sweet Nothing In My Ear

Lisa's report follows but first, some images...

The handbill

The play was so successful it was extended!
('Fountain Focus'
July '97 issue)

The autographed playbill
Thank you so much, Lisa, for sending this!

Lisa's report:-
This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the play "Sweet Nothing In My Ear" starring Terrylene (Laura in "An Impossible Silence" and "Sticks and Stones"). Terrylene is looking fabulous these days, not a thing has changed about her since her guest starring role on Beauty and the Beast. (I did manage to slip a note to her to let her know that Beauty and the Beast fans were in attendance. You should have seen her face light up when she read the note!)

Playing at the Fountain Theater, located in the heart of Los Angeles not far from Hollywood Boulevard, the theater itself is a converted Spanish style home that has a faithful following. Holding only about 75-80 people per performance, "Sweet Nothing" has been sold out every night since its run began on June 12, 1997 and has been extended twice beyond its original final performance date of July 27. Since the theater is so small, there were no bad seats but I was lucky enough to have a seats in the front row. The play was written by Steven Sachs, a co-founder of the Fountain Theater, and was one of the most powerful and passionate pieces of work that I have ever seen. It was beautifully performed in American Sign Language with voice interpretations for hearing members of the audience.

Terrylene plays Laura, a deaf woman, and Bob Kirsh plays Bob, her hearing husband. (I was so surprised to find that her character's name was Laura!) Laura is a teacher at a deaf institute and has been married to Bob for seven years. They have a son, Adam (played by Terrylene's real-life son Gianni [Gio] Manganelli) who was born with normal hearing abilities but whose hearing rapidly diminished so that by the age of six, he is totally deaf. Sign language is a normal part of this loving family. Laura's parents were born deaf and would have preferred their daughter marry a deaf man. They are very proud of their deafness. They view themselves as special, a separate "culture" and resent being thought of as disabled. Dan and Laura are more modern and function in the real world. Their strong love offsets any problems concerning the hearing issue differences.

Adam begins to accept the onset of deafness and decides not to speak or verbalize. He and his father have a common bond with computers and it is this new explosion of technology that introduces a dilemma that can shatter this very happy young family.

On a routine visit to the new doctor in town, it is suggested that the boy is a prime candidate for a cochlear implant which may restore limited hearing. Dan sees it as a miracle that can make his son "normal". Laura and her family feel that being deaf IS normal - for them. And why would they want to risk surgery to change Adam whose deafness is, as Laura's mother says, God's will? Laura's father is a deaf activist with bigoted views of the hearing world.

Dan and Laura must decide where they stand on the issue. There is no time to think about it or wait for more definitive medical treatments to be developed because as Adam grows older, the possibilities for the transplant diminish. The battle lines are drawn and emotions explode with disastrous results. Dan and Laura face, for the first time, what their "differences" really have meant to each other.

Terrylene's portrayal as Laura is completely believable as a mother fighting the man she adores to save their child from being taken into a different "culture". She gives a wonderful performance and the reviews have raved about her.

Little Gianni is just a doll and is a fine little actor in this, his debut performance, portraying an innocent child trying to accept changes in his little world that he can't understand. The scenes between mother and son just tore at my heart.

This play makes you think about issues most of us have never thought about before and makes you realize that there is no right thing to do in such a complex and heart wrenching situation.

I can honestly say that, although none of you could be there, I felt that I carried you all with me in spirit!

Faithfully yours... ;-) Lisa

Be Well and keep those hands busy!!!

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