Evam is doing a pro-bono project with Ability Foundation to create some special performances at the 13th CavinKare Ability Awards 2015.
Vinod and Shivkumar — two hearing & speaking impaired aspiring artists associated with Ability Foundation will perform poem recitals using sign language at the award ceremony. John Pradeep, the dean of Happy Cow, evam’s education division for children and a mime artist with 8 years of experience is training them for this performance.
Here’s an interview with John in which he talk about this project and how special this experience has been for him.
EVAM: How was the overall experience of working with Vinod and Shivkumar?
JOHN: It was a unique learning experience. As a mime artist, I tend to enact a poem using my body and expressions. The challenge was to help them ‘recite’ the poem. This meant that I had to teach myself to use only my expressions and words.
EVAM: How is training differently abled people different from mime training?
JOHN: They (Vinod & Shivkumar) were breaking down the poem into words and using sign language to recite the words. They didn’t understand that a poem had to follow a rhythm and shouldn’t be broken down word by word but, verse by verse.
I trained them to use their feet to understand the rhythm of the poem and they slowly got the hang of it. Once, they had internalized the beat, I had to train them to stop using their feet to capture the rhythm.
The biggest challenge was to make them “unlearn” the body movements and completely focus on reciting the poem using their hands and expressions alone.
EVAM: How much time did you spend bonding with them?
JOHN: We are rehearsing for two hours everyday this week. I’m confident that they will do a great job.
EVAM: Did you have to do some homework before you took up the responsibility?
JOHN: Yes. I learnt the English alphabets in sign language. I also read the poems thoroughly and figured out how to best explain the context to help them get their expressions right.
EVAM: What was the biggest learning for you from this experience?
JOHN: This project gave me the opportunity to meet various differently abled people who are associated with Ability Foundation. The most amazing part is their burning desire to learn.
They’re open to opportunities and have a very positive attitude towards life. One of the guys was wearing a t-shirt which read, “I am responsible for what I speak. But not for what you understand.”
13TH CAVINKARE ABILITY AWARDS 2015 WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY, MAR 14 IN LADY ANDAL SCHOOL, CHENNAI. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.