IM this article to a friend!

December 6, 2002

Deaf Drama "No Room" To Be Held At Colonnade

From: The Chattanoogan, TN - 06 Dec 2002

by Christina Siebold
posted December 6, 2002

Of all the traditions that make this time of year special - the food, the decorations, the gifts, the Christmas story - Kim Rempel says there is none more moving than the music. While most of us take part in this tradition by popping in a holiday CD or enjoying a local presentation of Handel’s Messiah, many Chattanoogans don’t have those luxuries.

For the deaf students and church members at the Rempel’s Harvest Baptist Church Deaf Ministries in Ringgold, the tinkling bells of “Joy to the World” or the trumpets of “Messiah” will never be heard, but the Rempel’s refuse to let the joy of the season pass them by.

“We have choirs in our deaf congregation that both sing and sign, and this is our seventh year doing the deaf presentation,” Mrs. Rempel says.

Harvest Baptist Church Deaf Ministries is performing the Christmas drama "No Room" at the Catoosa County Colonnade, December 5 through 8 at 7 p.m. each night. The presentation is free and open to the public. Performed by hearing impaired area residents, the program will be reverse interpreted for the hearing.

Mrs. Rempel wrote and directs the drama and says "No Room" includes music, elaborate costumes and a tremendous set. It combines a modern-day drama with the traditional Christmas story. The play and music is presented on-stage by deaf performers signing in American sign language, with off-stage interpretation for the hearing.

Mrs. Rempel says one third of their audience on the first night of the presentation was hearing-impaired, with many of the hearing audience members leaving impressed with the skill of the deaf performers.

“A lot of people think the deaf are so limited,” she says, “but the deaf are very expressive and very good at drama.”

Because they don’t hear the language structure, Mrs. Rempel says she often choreographs songs for her deaf choirs to better illustrate the meaning for the audience.

“They speak in pictures all day long, so when they do music and drama, it gives them another opportunity to use those pictures.”

Mrs. Rempel says she received many complements on their first production Thursday night, but only one complaint. One audience member mentioned that the music seemed a little loud at times. Mrs. Rempel sheepishly admits that was her fault.

“When the production begins, I always go upstairs and watch it with the girl who controls the sound. I’ve seen it every night for more than a month during rehearsals, but it always makes me cry - they have all worked so hard and it is so beautiful,” she says. “The girl I was with said it was just so sad that they were doing such a beautiful job, but they couldn’t hear the music. So I told her to turn it up, so they could feel the vibrations through the ground. I just wanted them to feel it.”

For more information on the Christmas production “No Room,” call Harvest Deaf Ministries at (706) 375-7107.