The language in Police Deaf Near Far stings like the snap of a whip. In fact David Rush’s gritty account of injustice employs two languages, spoken English and American Sign Language. And in Stage Left Theatre’s production of a work inspired by a true story, the actors are so bilingually articulate that we barely notice our assimilation into the world of deaf citizens struggling for recognition. Under the direction of Drew Martin, Robert Schleifer delivers a riveting performance as the hearing-impaired activist whose frustration at society’s indifference leads to his martyrdom; similarly capable are Peter DeFaria and Karin McKie as the police officers who inadvertently become his executioners and Pat Parks as an interpreter whose efforts cannot prevent the bloodshed. Premiered last February at Stage Left’s north-side playhouse, Police Deaf Near Far received a Joseph Jefferson Citation for best new work. Its move downtown provides another opportunity to see this ingeniously conceived, meticulously crafted amalgam of visual and aural communication. Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago, 312-742-8497. Through October 29: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 PM; Sundays, 3 and 7 PM. $15.
–Mary Shen Barnidge
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Karin McKie.