Theatre offers 'blind' experience

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The Israeli theatre company Nalaga'at have devised a unique experience for London audiences to experience the sensations felt by their blind and deaf actors.

David Sillito reports.

A transcript of David Sillito's report is below:

"Meet Bat-Sheva Ravenseri. She's a mother of three boys, an actress, and she can neither see nor hear anything.

BAT-SHEVA RAVENSERI: In the beginning it was a dream of mine to be an actress. But I didn't really believe that blind and deaf people could be actors. But now I'm so happy because my dream came true.'

Deaf and blind, and performing on stage. Every move, every gesture, they have had to learn by touch and years of rehearsals.

Of course they can't rely on words to give them cues. They have to memorise everything, or rely on vibrations of music, the bang of a drum. Many of the group have ushers syndrome. Born without hearing they then lose their sight, and often, hope.

ADINA TAL, Nalaga'at Theatre Company: 'It basically changed their lives. When we started to work, I believe some of them thought about suicide, because they could not accept the fact that they were getting blind. Now it's an ensemble, like every ensemble, they fight they get angry if someone hides them on stage or something like that. And they are stars, knowing that they are giving to society.'

How do you begin to understand this isolation? Well this theatrical experience begins in the lobby. The waiters are deaf. If you want to eat, it's a crash course in some basic sign language. This though is only the beginning. Here a blind waitress leads you into a pitch-black cafe. Unnerving, bewildering.

AUDIENCE: 'It's amazing. You can't really imagine what it's like, until, you know.'

This then is far more than just a night at the theatre. It's a chance to share a world without sound, without light. David Sillito, BBC News."

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