Several months ago I was performing at an event at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Pinedo PR owner, Susanne Pinedo was also present at the event. As we sat and waited for the show to begin, I recall her telling me about a woman named Gloria Rosen. Susanne told me that I really should go see her show because it was an amazing story. I also recall her speaking with Charlie Scott (Rapper) about Gloria and her show “Listen can you hear me now”. Susanne believed that Scott would be able to relate to Gloria’s story on a deepen level because they are both the children of deaf parents. After watching the show I spoke with Scott, he hasn’t seen the show yet but it now comes highly recommend by me and my wife.
I really enjoyed the show. Gloria shared quite a bit of her story with us. She shared that when she was a baby, she’d cry but that her mother couldn’t hear her crying. Think about that for a second, something that most of us take for granted, your baby crying. Throughout the show Gloria made us laugh, she made us cry, she took us through a wide range of emotions. The theater was packed, so it is safe to say that Gloria has a decent sized following. There were hearing people in the audience, and there were also deaf people in attendance. Throughout the show I saw quite a few of the guests signing too each other as they were watching the show, they were being translators.
As I mentioned earlier, I had already heard of Gloria Rosen before I went to the show. I recently posted an article on NYCTalking about her appearance on the talk show “Off deck with Lucy”. Though she wasn’t new to me, I hadn’t heard her entire story until last night. The story was really powerful and extremely touching. You cannot walk away from this show and not have been touched by this woman and her amazing family tale.
After watching this show I developed a much deeper appreciation for my friend Scott and his family. I have never really thought about the things that hearing impaired folks deal with on a daily basis. But while watching this show I realized that there’s so much more to it than simply not hearing. Gloria described herself as the ears of the house, she said her job was to listen for her mom and dad. She told us that she could not even communicate with her father because she didn’t know how to sign. This was at the request of her mother, well, not really a request, more like a demand. Her mother insisted that she not learn sign language as she wanted to prove that she could raise two hearing children even if she herself could not hear. Therefore her communication with her dad went through her mother first. Since her mother was a natural lip reader and could speak relatively well, Gloria didn’t need sign language to communicate with her.
From the very beginning of the play you can feel the tension and the difficulties that Gloria encounters. By the end of the show you really have a full appreciation for what she dealt with growing up. Little things that we take for granted, little things like the phone ringing, or the doorbell ringing, or something as simple as telling your dad why you are not happy about something. In fact her story became even more complicated due to certain individuals behaving inappropriately and her not being allowed to talk about it. She also had difficulty deciding what world she belonged in, the hearing world, or the deaf world. There’s a lot happening in this show and if you have the opportunity to see it then you really should, I highly recommend it. Whether or not you are deaf or have ever dealt with the deaf, I recommend this show. The story is very powerful, it is universal and I think it can be appreciated by anybody. If the show is ever in your town, I recommend you go watch it.
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.