I have heard many times that actors need to listen. It is something that can be simple but can get over complicated.
ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth” television show proves that you don’t listen just with your ears but with your eyes. Several characters communicate using sign language and make listening fascinating.
When I watch the show I am compelled to stop multitasking and to focus on watching the relationships and signing on screen. In some scenes there is no background music to mask the absence of vocalization.
Nevertheless, the show goes beyond being known for having deaf and hearing characters. The concept of the show having two babies being switched at birth brings up identity, family nature verses nurture issues.
I have so much respect for the show and actors who rise to the challenge of playing deaf characters or opposite them. In many of the episodes actors are communicating with two languages at the same time. Katie Leclerc’s deaf accent and how the show is consistent in watching lips to understand are only some highlights to look for.
Last week, the episode “Uprising” was entirely in ASL with an exception of a few moments at the beginning and end. Tomorrow, is the mid-season finale on ABC Family 8 p.m..
Overall, in life and on screen the moments where verbally nothing is said can be the most revealing. It is what not said that can be interesting. Silence is golden and can reveal beautiful vulnerability.
Marlee Matlin’s character says it is not about hearing loss but hearing gain. What will you gain by truly listening in your relationships-silence included?
Image: ABC Family
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:13 ESV