By Guest Blogger Talia Winokur, Nalaga’at
The actors danced to cheerful Balkan music, on the last scene they performed from their new show “Luna Park” on a special Gala evening this fall. They then gathered on stage to bow in front of the enthusiastic crowd. The actors, though, could not see nor hear the clapping hands. These eleven actors are part of the unique Nalaga’at Theater, in which all actors are deaf-blind.
They are the Theater’s second performing ensemble, and therefore the second group of its kind in the world. That night they were greeted by the actors of the veteran deaf-blind theater ensemble, which has been working together since 2002. But it is the Theater’s current show, “Not by Bread Alone” that’s won the hearts of audiences and critics in Israel and worldwide.
The Gala night took place at the Nalaga’at Center, situated at the picturesque Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. The Center is home to the Nalaga’at Theater and to two exceptional culinary establishments: the BlackOut Restaurant, where blind waiters accompany the guests to a meal in total darkness that enhances all other senses; and Kapish Café, offering light meals served by deaf waiters who invite the guests to communicate beyond spoken words and learn basic sign language.
The Nalaga’at Center was founded by the Nalaga’at non-profit organization with the guiding belief that all humans are created equal but different. It is one of the biggest employers in Israel for deaf, blind and deaf-blind individuals, assisting them in providing for themselves while developing their talents, skills and abilities.
That night, Itzik Hanuna, one of the veteran actors, turned to the audience and with the help of his personal interpreter said: “I have never dreamed that I, as a deaf-blind person, would become a source of inspiration for more deaf-blind individuals to realize their talents.” Like him, they are now part of this family-like theater, which, he goes on to say, has given him a reason to live.
Come visit us at the Nalaga’at Center: The show “Not by Bread Alone” is performed every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30 p.m. The new show “Luna Park” will premier in March 2012. In addition, the Nalaga’at Theater performs a children’s show, “Prince Rooster” with an ensemble of deaf and blind waiters trained as actors, and a theatrical workshop, “Give Me a Sign,” which teaches children sign language. Kapish Café is open on these days, from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. The BlackOut Restaurant is open on these days from 6 p.m.