Performance by local Deaf theatrical group named "Sunflower"

The Oita Prefectural School for the Deaf, located in Oita City, celebrated its 100th anniversary since established on November 22. The JSL play, which was interpreted, was performed for about one hour. It was applauded with flying hands by the audience.

Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida (51), a Deaf leader of the theatrical group and works for the ceramic goods processing company, humorously acted an old man, who worked part-time in the restaurant, in the play called "Mito-komon," one of the popular ancient stories. Mito-komon, a former land lord during a warrior time, traveled nationwide with his two men to see how the people lived.

The theatrical group, called "Sunflower," has about 30 Deaf members and interpreters aged between the teens and sixties. They produce not only creative plays, but also plays based on folk tales such as "Momotaro."

The interpreters interpret what a Deaf member acts, and other persons do note-taking, which is repeated until the play is refined. An interpreter explains that it is difficult to match sign language to the spoke language. "If feelings are not matched, it is useless."

The theatrical group members make use of each special skill like woodwork, dressmaking, the Japanese dressmaking, etc., to make all clothes and the stage sets.

Yoshida says, "We Deaf members often are helped by the interpreters. We feel grateful, but we want to do something to make everyone feel happy."

The theatrical group is often called to perform at facilities for the senior citizens, etc. outside the prefecture, with a play that everyone enjoys regardless of the existence of disabilities.

The theatrical group "Sunflower" was established in 1995. Yoshida, who loved acting, invited Deaf individuals persons to join the theatrical group no matter they have met or not. He says, "I believed a theatrical activity was a good method for a Deaf person who tended to shut by him/herself in to open up to the society."

According to him, shy Deaf persons became cheerful after joining the group and their acting improved, too. He laughed saying that accordingly the average age of the members were up.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Nov. 30, 2008
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