The “Nalaga’at” Deaf-blind Acting Ensemble was founded in order to integrate deaf-blind people into the community, promote their needs and aspirations and provide them with the opportunity to express themselves and exercise one of the most basic rights – to contribute to society.
By performing on the stage, the actors of the “Nalaga’at” Theater Deaf-blind Acting Ensemble are given an opportunity to express themselves in a creative manner and give their audience a meaningful experience. The show enhances public awareness to the fact that deaf-blind people need to be accepted as equal citizens and promotes universal values of solidarity, mutual respect, tolerance and coexistence.
The first production of the Deaf-blind Acting Ensemble, “Light is Heard in Zig Zag”, was performed throughout Israel and abroad with great success, receiving rave press reviews. Its second production “Not by Bread Alone” is currently on stage at the “Nalaga’at” Center at the Jaffa port.
The “Nalaga’at” Theater offers its audience an artistic and human experience and seeks to change people’s perceptions and views. It aims at interconnecting social groups and communities through art and emotion, regardless of faith, races or cultural background. The general public is invited to meet a quite unusual group of deaf-blind people, who are creative, self-sufficient and joyful, and who wish to present their audience with a wonderful gift - the gift of art.
The Deaf-blind Acting Ensemble of the “Nalaga’at” Theater is composed of 11 actors. Some of them are totally deaf-blind, others have remains of sight and hearing abilities. Each “Nalaga’at” actor is accompanied at rehearsals and on stage by a personal interpreter. Most of the actors suffer from ‘Usher Syndrome’, a genetic disorder that causes deafness and a gradual vision loss associated with the eye disease ‘retinitis pigmentosa’. This illness develops during adolescence or later and causes sight loss and ultimately complete blindness. Being engaged at the theater on a permanent basis is crucial for increasing the actors’ self-confidence and for improving interpersonal communication skills. It also helps reducing their solitude and social isolation by meeting audiences of people who can see and hear or people with other types of disabilities.
Most deaf-blind people are capable to communicate only with a person who knows ‘tactile sign-language’. At “Nalaga’at” we developed various methods of communication throughout the years and the group members communicate in many different ways determined by the nature of their condition’. For example, Itzik uses the hand-palm alphabet– which is tapped on his hand (each joint on the hand being a Hebrew letter), however when Yuri wants to communicate with Itzik he taps in Braille. Yuri, Igor and Mark use the Russian sign language interpreted to them by Tikva. In addition she interprets Genia’s spoken Russian into Hebrew and into Israeli sign-language. Nahch’e speaks in a loud voice near Shoshana’s and Genia’s ears since they both have remains of audition, and Miki, a deaf interpreter, observes another tactile sign language interpreter and passes it on to another member of the group.
Adina Tal is the Art Director. At the age of 20 she made Aliya from Switzerland and for many years was engaged in the world of theater both as a director and as a actress. For several years she worked with the “Nalaga’at” Deaf-blind Acting Ensemble, on the first production “Light is Heard in Zig Zag”. Following the success of this play, Tal engaged with the actors in the production of the second show “Not by Bread Alone” and the new children play "prince indik". This journey denotes her constant search for creating new ways of communication within the group and between actors and audiences. Tal is the founder of the “Nalaga’at” non-profit organization and the Artistic Director of the “Nalaga’at” Center.