Deafy (Why Not Theatre) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Picture of Chris Dodd in Deafy

Performed partly in ASL, using both surtitles and spoken word, Deafy, written and performed by Chris Dodd and directed by Ashley Wright, is now on as part of SummerWorks 2019.

Dodd plays Nathan Jesper, a liaison with the National Deaf Association who travels the world giving educational talks on Deaf culture. At the top of the show he is late for a scheduled talk. As his presentation progresses, it derails from his usual content and we eventually learn why.

Dodd is Deaf himself. As Jesper, he tells us stories about navigating the world as a Deaf person, with the stories primarily revolving around the themes of (mis)communication and (dis)connection.

Dodd is incredibly engaging to watch. I found his text to be illuminating, extremely poignant, and often hilarious. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Deaf culture from his perspective. Dodd has crafted a script that walks the tricky line of being both informative and challenging, yet very approachable.

Some of the most important lessons presented in this show pertain to the need for belonging. While this is a show about a Deaf character, some of the lessons span identities. Isolation is unfortunately commonplace among marginalized people. Even if you’re part of the hearing community (a term I learned this evening), chances are that Dodd’s script will still be somewhat relatable.

As part of SummerWorks’ Lab series, the performance I saw was Deafy’s first full production. Considering its current status as a work-in-progress, the text and performance felt quite polished to me. I’m excited to see where this show goes and would recommend it to all.

This review is a snapshot of the first performance of a work-in-progress. The production is one of several pieces at the festival presented as part of the SummerWorks Lab programming introduced in 2018. The participants in SW Lab are still in the development process and will continue to evolve throughout the festival.
Deafy is playing at the Theatre Centre BMO Incubator (1115 Queen Street West)
  • Friday August 9th 8:15pm – 9:30pm
  • Sunday August 11th 6:00pm – 7:15pm
  • Wednesday August 14th 7:00pm – 8:15pm
Warnings: Coarse language
SummerWorks tickets uses a Pay What You Decide system for every show: $15, $25, or $35, whichever suits your budget. All tickets are general admission and there are no limits to any price level.
Advance tickets are available up until 3 hours before show time and can be purchased as follows: Online, using the Buy Ticket link found on every show page; In person at the main SummerWorks Festival Box Office the Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) – open August 8-18 from 12pm-8pm. Tickets purchased in advance are subject to a convenience fee of $2.50/ticket. Any remaining tickets will be made available for sale at the performance venue starting 1 hour before show time. Venue box offices accept cash only.
Money saving passes are available if you are planning on seeing at least 4 shows.
Photo of Chris Dodd provided by company