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Opinion

On the evening of June 28, the audience at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater at Landmark on Main Street was treated to a unique and extraordinary theatrical experience. Sponsored by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf Blind Adults and Youth right here in Sands Point, the event was a performance staged by an Israeli troupe of 12 deaf blind people called "Nalaga'at" ("Do Touch" in Hebrew).

Called "Light is Heard in Zig Zig," the performance consisted of a series of skits and black-outs, mostly in pantomime, in which the dozen talented performers were each assisted by a "translator" - a sighted person who stood by giving tactile cues to the deaf blind actors. The result was 70 minutes of theatrical magic, ranging from Chaplinesque antics to sheer pathos, in which the performers expressed their dreams to be released from the world of darkness and silence in which they are trapped. Within a few minutes after the beginning of the show, the audience was thoroughly captivated, forgetting momentarily that the actors on stage for the most part could not hear or see one another nor the onlookers. Frequent bursts of applause were conveyed to the performers by the translators by way of taps on the backs of their hands, eliciting return applause of appreciation.

The troupe is drawn from a population of approximately 1,000 deaf blind in the entire country of Israel. The performers live throughout Israel and are transported to Tel Aviv for training and rehearsals. The performance on Monday in Port capped a North American tour including appearances in Montreal and Toronto.

The Helen Keller Center, and Landmark on Main Street, are to be congratulated for bringing this extraordinary event to Port Washington.

Joel Joseph


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