‘Everyday’: A cathartic play about survival and friendship in the deaf community
Barely ten minutes into Everyday, tears are starting to stream down the faces of people in the audience. Actress Kelsey Gordon is facing towards us but talking to her mother, recounting the time she was sent to boarding school, the beatings of her abusive father and her despair when her eight year-old brother ran away from home.
Everyday is about four people who gather during the full moon to share their past traumas. It comes with a trigger warning, and for good reason – Bea Webster’s turn describing their childhood abuse at the hands of a family member is a haunting, harrowing few minutes. The fact that the entire play is performed using a mixture of spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL) only adds to the catharsis.
Drawing on the real life experiences of women and non-binary people in the deaf community who have survived various forms of abuse, Everyday is produced by Deafinitely Theatre, the UK’s first deaf-led professional theatre company. It was founded in 2002 by actor and director Paula Garfield, who had become frustrated with the barriers that existed for deaf performers in mainstream media. As well as producing BBC programmes, she has directed Love’s Labour’s Lost and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for London’s Shakespeare’s Globe, and won an off West End Award (Offie) for Deafinitely’s production Contractions.
Commissioned for the intimate New Diorama Theatre in north London, this is a moving, vital work featuring stunning performances. By the end, the self-proclaimed witches appear to have simultaneously liberated themselves as well as us through their impeccably powerful storytelling.
‘Everyday’ is touring the UK until June 25. For more information visit Deafinitely Theatre