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Glasgow-based Theatre Maker’s New Play Unites Deaf and Hearing People

Ramesh Meyyapan raises the importance of inter-communication between hearing and non-hearing people in his new play, "Love Beyond (Act of Remembrance).”

The writer, Ramesh Meyyapan, playing Old Harry in Love Beyond (Act of Remembrance) (Photo Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

Love Beyond (Act of Remembrance) is a co-production by Raw Material and Vanishing Point, about Harry, a deaf dementia sufferer, and his experience of life and love. "For some deaf dementia sufferers, the language - their language - their sign begins to disappear,” said Ramesh Meyyapan, creator of Love Beyond, who also plays the character Old Harry in the production.

“For a deaf person, their language is how they identify themselves, it's not just their mode of communication."

According to The Alzheimer’s Association, up to 40% of people with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from significant depression. However, due to cognitive impairment, it can be challenging for them to articulate their sadness.

If that person is also deaf, their communication with the hearing world is impacted further. Figures from the British Deaf Association estimate that 151,000 people use British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK, 87,000 of whom are deaf and use BSL as their first language.

Love Beyond (Act of Remembrance) includes both deaf and hearing actors and contains a mixture of British sign language, visual language (sign mime/visual vernacular), and spoken dialogue.

A scene from "Love Beyond" (Act of Remembrance): Elicia Daly as Nurse, Amy Kennedy as Elise, and Ramesh Meyyapan as Old Harry. (Photo Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

Deafness in the Digital Age

Figures from the charity Action on Hearing Loss predict that the number of adults in the UK with mild to profound hearing loss will rise to 14.2 million adults (1 in 5) by 2035. “Communication between deaf and hearing individuals has the potential to improve if we begin to consider how to support and facilitate this using the vast range of technology that would allow us to do this," says Mr. Meyappan.

Until such sophisticated technology becomes commonplace, Meyyapan stresses the importance of sign language. “Sign, no matter what form, is the key to communicating with the deaf. Love Beyond highlights the importance of that communication, and I hope non-signers recognise it. It would be great if non-signers were a little more confident or open to exploring sign.”

Love Beyond (Act of Remembrance) is at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on February 17th and 18th.


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