You Are My Sunshine

Written and performed by Terry Galloway
Directed by Donna Marie Nudd and Jimmers Micallef
Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool
27th November, 2014

Reviewed by Andy Millar

As part of the DaDaFest International Fest at the Bluecoat, Terry Galloway plays herself in this performance, and she acts the part very well. She is able to communicate the facts and times of her life clearly with exuberance and poignancy, blending dramatic style into her storytelling.

She emphasises the vocal delivery and physical energy using minimal stage props and lighting.

The word “liminal” is used a few times this evening, and that describes the performance and the subject matter detail.

Terry is deaf and You Are My Sunshine is about how she was given consent to have a cochlear implant surgically placed in one ear. The cochlear implant is a recent design, a minute complex electronic device that, when attuned, gives a high level of hearing.

She talks about her attitudes and experiences of the deaf community and the politics of it: family, schooling, benefit claiming and being a lesbian in Texas. She is unflattering about herself.

The pivotal moment in the short one act play is when Terry acts out the moment when the cochlear implant was first turned on after her operation, and she recoils from the trauma as her brain tries to assimilate every new sound and noise possible at once. The simple prop device of a bell is used with finesse to create a poignant stillness and hush in the theatre, this chime of a bell is the method that doctors use to assist their new cochlear implant patients.

The purity of the sound, as the actress describes it, gives the brain a chance to focus on something and rest. There is a turn in the narrative as Terry converses on the liminal state of now hearing, but in the sense of an ‘auditory experience’, and still being acutely aware that the device might malfunction and hearing vanish.

As an actor Terry Galloway is very adept at using her voice, and of using an uncomplicated physical theatre to vividly depict other characters in the monologue.

I liked the brevity of it, and the Q&A session straight afterwards was an essential part of the performance.

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