“War in Heaven” – Art in Polish Sign Language. Interviews.

Interviews with the creators, actress, and audience of the play "War in Heaven" staged at the Mazovian Institute of Culture in Warsaw.

Interview with Patrycja Nosowicz – actress from the play “War in Heaven.”

Graphic for an interview after the performance of "War in Heaven." On the left a young woman, Patrycja Nosowicz. On the right, a young man - Michal Konwerski. Both are sitting in chairs facing each other and waving towards the camera.
War in Heaven - Patrycja Nosowicz

[Michał Konwerski]: I’d like to introduce you to Patrycja Nosowicz, who enjoys dancing and acting very much. Recently, I watched her theater performance, which we’ll talk about now. How does communication work between deaf and hearing individuals during the creation of such a project?

[Patrycja Nosowicz]: Communication may not have been difficult, but as you know, beginnings can be different. Some of the hearing individuals knew a bit of sign language. For example, I helped translate for the hard of hearing people, and the deaf actors also helped to clarify things. We also tried to adapt to the “hearing world,” and they tried to adapt to the “deaf world.”

How did you invite deaf individuals to the project?

— We organized a casting at the Polish Association of the Deaf in Krakow. Everything was recorded on camera. The people who participated in the casting were asked about their experience in dance and theater. Those who had the experience moved forward.

— That’s great. So, the selected individuals could gain more experience. What was your development like in the theater?

— I have been interested in dance and theater since I was 4 years old. In primary school, I took part in various performances, then attended workshops and visited various places. All of this contributed to my development. And when I participated in this project, I made further progress and gained the necessary qualifications.

— Did you attend the project and practice there?

— Yes.

— What were those rehearsals like?

— I tried to practice naturally, but as I mentioned earlier, beginnings are not easy. For example, a poem in the Polish language is difficult for us to understand, but with the help of an interpreter, we try to grasp the meaning and then translate it into Polish Sign Language (PJM) to reach the deaf audience. This way, we keep improving, and it gets easier over time.

— I see. But I’m curious about something else. If something is difficult, how much time do you need to learn it?

— In the end, we practice until we get it right.

— That’s very interesting. I would like to thank you for the interview. What you’ve shared today is very important for the deaf community. We can learn a lot from your life.

— Thank you. Bye!

Play for the Deaf – Interview with Dominika Feiglewicz and Katarzyna Anna Małachowska.

"War in Heaven" - An interview with the creators of the play for the deaf. Photo - a frame from the interview. From left: Dominika Feiglewicz, Katarzyna Anna Malachowska, sign language interpreter Pawel Zurawski, Maciej Joniuk - Deaf World Foundation. All sitting side by side in chairs.
"War in Heaven" - An interview

[Maciej Joniuk]: Hello after the beautiful play for the Deaf. Please, introduce yourselves.

[Dominika Feiglewicz]: My name is Dominika Feiglewicz. I am an actress and I live in Krakow. I am the director of the play “War in Heaven”. I work at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow.

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: My name is Katarzyna Anna Małachowska. I am an actress and choreographer. I work at the Acting Department of the Theatre Academy in Warsaw. In this play, I’m responsible for the stage movement and I collaborate with Dominika in directing.

What was the idea behind the play for the Deaf?

[Dominika Feiglewicz]: The idea emerged when I started working with Professor and actor Krzysztof Globisz. He had suffered a stroke, which resulted in muscle atrophy, mobility problems, and speech impairment. However, this collaboration sparked a desire in me to do more. We began working on the text “War in Heaven” and I started seeking inspiration to convey its message. I searched for a form and people who could help create something more with this text. That’s where the idea of working with deaf individuals came from, which eventually evolved into the play.

And how did you manage communication with the Deaf? Were there any difficulties?

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: When we started our work, Dominika already had some knowledge of sign language because she used it as a form of expressing emotions while working on a song in the past. She managed to enter the “deaf world” and already had some basics of sign language communication. On the other hand, when I started this project, I didn’t know any sign language or gestures. But Patrycja, who is hard of hearing and knows sign language, was a significant support for us. She helped us in translating messages and content that we tried to convey to our deaf actors.

[Dominika Feiglewicz]: We work with two Deaf and two hard of hearing individuals. At the beginning of our collaboration, we agreed that we simply have to find a way to communicate. If we, using our simple sign language, can’t convey what we want, then our Deaf and hard of hearing actors step in to help us in full communication. It’s our collaboration within the group.

Will today’s play be repeated, or was it a one-time event?

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: Are you asking about today’s performance only?

[Maciej Joniuk]: No, no. I meant the new plays involving Deaf individuals.

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: We are working on a new play, and besides Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, we have also invited visually impaired and people from a theater school.

What advice would you give to young creators of plays for the Deaf?

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: Take action.

[Dominika Feiglewicz]: Take action and receive. Attend events that are accessible to you. Observe, and then create and utilize that in your work.

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: “Theatre is a space of freedom for you.”

[Dominika Feiglewicz]: In theater, you can come together, so do that. Have more courage. Seek people who share the same goals as you.

[Katarzyna Anna Małachowska]: And if you have any questions, you can contact the “Migawka” Foundation. We provide support.

[Dominika Feiglewicz]: Yes.

[Maciej Joniuk]: Thank you both for the interview.

“War in Heaven” through the eyes of a Deaf audience member.

"War in Heaven". - A conversation with a viewer of the play for the deaf. A frame from the interview. On the left, Michal Konwerski, conducting the interview in PJM. On the right, a young woman, Ola Szorc. Both are standing facing the camera and using sign language.
"War in Heaven"

— Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself.

— My name is Ola Szorc. I live in Warsaw.

— We’re already after the play, so let me ask you a few things. What did you like about the play, and what didn’t you like?

— Overall, it was nice, worth watching, but I have mixed feelings. There was signing and subtitles, but the content was also spoken. I heard it through my hearing aid, but I couldn’t understand it. I think signing with subtitles and a narrator is a mixed combination – that’s the only thing I have doubts about.

— What feelings did this play evoke in you?

— I once heard about an interesting task related to cinema, but it also applies to theater. If after watching a performance or a movie, people discuss, have doubts, or ask questions, it means it’s worth watching. I think that was the case with this play.

— Do you think it’s worthwhile for the Deaf to come and watch it?

— I think every such play is worth watching, even if someone doesn’t like it. In this way, we help the people who worked on it to develop – they will know what they can improve.

— It’s probably normal that one person likes a particular play, and another person likes a different one. Just like movies in the cinema – something captures our attention, and something else might bore us. Would you agree with me?

— I think that’s exactly how it is.

— Alright, that’s all. Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview.

— Thank you too.

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