Last week, eleven deaf-blind actors of Tel Aviv’s Nalaga’at Center performed their international hit, “Not By Bread Alone,” at New York University. In the length of time it takes to make a loaf of bread, the actors gave the audience a glimpse of what it’s like to live in their dark and silent world.
Nalaga’at is a center for artistic and cultural expression for the deaf, blind and deaf-blind. Founded in 2002, it also provides artistic and vocational training and facilitates interactions between deaf, blind, and those without sensory impairments. The center features Blackout, a restaurant where diners are served in pitch-black and by blind waiters.
Dough and Dreams
“Not By Bread Alone” has debuted in London and South Korea. Its tour in New York City ran from January 16 to February 3 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The play, which unveils dreams and joys of its actors through the process of breadmaking, explores different methods of communication. The title of the play, “Not By Bread Alone [does man live],” succinctly captures the idea that there are other ways to live in this physical world than by seeing and hearing.
The beat of a drum is heard periodically throughout the performance, signaling a new act. The actors cannot hear or see the drum, yet they can sense its vibrations. They learned to feel vibrations as they move through the air.
Nalaga’at, which means “please touch” in Hebrew, also offers a sign language workshop, run by deaf instructors. Besides for its educational value, the workshop is meant to give participants a greater appreciation for the world of the deaf. People who are not deaf, but are hearing impaired can browse discreet and designer hearing aids on www.audicus.com.