Monologue of a Deaf Woman

After a successful run at Melbourne’s MidSumma Festival, Monologue Of A Deaf Woman comes to Adelaide for a run at November’s FEAST Festival. The Adelaide Review interviewed the director, deaf artist Medina Sumovic, to discover more about the production.

After a successful run at Melbourne’s MidSumma Festival, Monologue Of A Deaf Woman comes to Adelaide for a run at November’s FEAST Festival. The Adelaide Review interviewed the director, deaf artist Medina Sumovic, to discover more about the production.

Monologue Of A Deaf Woman gives an insight into the world of a deaf, gay woman through its sole performer, Stephanie Linder. The production aims to convey an “awe-inspiring piece about life, love and the universe from a deaf woman’s perspective”. Sumovic is confident that Linder’s personal experience makes her perfect for the role.

“She is not only deaf, but is deaf!” Sumovic explains. “Stef is from a deaf family and has deaf siblings. She attended an (integrated) deaf school and is a proud and confident lesbian as well.”

The production allows for both deaf and hearing communities to understand the importance of sexuality within the deaf community, which Linder has had to personally overcome. The production tracks from when Linder’s character first discovered her sexuality and follows through to when she first came out to her family.

“Within the deaf community everyone knows everyone and for Stef, coming out was not an easy thing to do. Her ‘hearing’ grandmother found out [about her sexuality] from teachers and other people who see the work.”

The production came after Sumovic directed Linder in last year’s Silent Monologues, which created a new format for performing to both deaf and hearing audiences. This was achieved by the four deaf women using Auslan – the language of the deaf community – along with interpreters for the hearing audience.

After this concept proved successful, Linder and Sumovic tackled Monologue Of A Deaf Woman, with Linder performing in Auslan along with a shadow interpreter. Despite this, Sumovic, who is also deaf, is still worried about whether the work will translate for hearing audiences.

“I think that is my biggest fear, because I want to try and entertain everybody equally – it’s not easy to present a ‘deaf’ show to a hearing audience. Sometimes you have to be deaf to understand, but hearing audiences will be able to ‘get’ it.”

Sumovic became a director just two years ago and admits she is still “very new to it”. This comes off the back of working for 15 years with the Australian Theatre Of The Deaf and other theatre companies in Sydney and Melbourne as an actor. Bringing the show to Adelaide for FEAST is an exciting prospect for Sumovic.

“[I am most looking forward to] meeting other artists in Adelaide and showing this work to the community. The deaf community rarely get access to deaf theatre, seeing deaf performers and directing with deaf understanding, rather than via the interpreters.”

Following Silent Monologues and Monologue Of A Deaf Woman, you can expect a continuing working relationship between Sumovic and Linders.

“Stef has many hidden skills that she is not aware of! Once she is on stage she has an amazing presence and performs so naturally. I will definitely continue to work with her. Her flexibility and input is always wonderful.”

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