Can you imagine eating dinner in pantomime? Two months ago at Asia Society, 1010 presented Silence Le Cabaret, the world's first silent theatrical dining experience with the audience taking part. Young Post's junior reporters were invited, and this is what they thought ...
Silence Le Cabaret is a silent show performed by a troupe of professional deaf performers. The plot is centred on a theme from the 1950s and '60s: a beautiful singer's necklace is stolen, and it's up to a goofy detective to make sense of the clues and ultimately locate it, foiling the plans of two mysterious thieves. With the audience being involved when the detective made his grand, over-the-top entrance, and classic slapstick humour when the two thieves were found out, the plot really had everything. To top it off, one of the thieves was revealed to be the wife of the nightclub owner! It was a truly spectacular, expressive performance.
Silence Le Cabaret was organised by Dialogue Experience Silence, a social enterprise that believes everyone, regardless of their differences, should be included. After the show, we interviewed the founder, Fiona Wat.
The show provokes self-reflection through entertainment.
"This is what we call 'impactainment'," said Wat. "Entertainment that brings impact through awareness. Through the shows, we hope more people will accept that everyone is different."
The show did this by putting on a performance, but requiring the audience to put on sound-blocking headphones. We couldn't hear a thing, and through the funny show, I learned how a deaf person might experience theatre. It showed me that deaf people really need to focus on the performers' facial expressions and body language to understand the show.
As I left, it really made me think about how fortunate I am, and the difficulties faced by deaf people.
Watching the play in nearly total silence was an interesting and unique experience. The most meaningful part was forming a connection with the deaf performers and their art, as the connection between the artists and the audience is crucial. Differences in your perception of the world make that connection difficult.
By momentarily entering their world, I understood better how they viewed the world and the arts. I couldn't hear the music they danced to, but I felt its pulse - a part of music that I used to be deaf to.