Jesse – An ASL Opera is a workshop reading by Landon Krentz, Heather Molloy & Paula Weber resulting from a two-week experimental process that gathered Deaf and Hearing artists to explore how poetry, music, English and ASL intersect. Bi-cultural and bilingual, this experience reflects a creative process that was both riveting and uncomfortable.
“You have failed the hearing test”.
No apologies required, it is fact. You look around seeking validation and a sense of belonging but you know that this result will never change. You will always fail. With both hands tucked beneath your buttocks, you feel the world closing in. You can’t remember the last time you felt warm and safe. It hits you, how strained and lonely it is inside this black box in the audiology department.
Jesse – An ASL Opera is about one man’s journey of self-discovery as he navigates Deaf culture, queerness and the rhythms of being human. The opera explores how language is seen, heard and understood by combining the movement, rhythmic structure and meter present in all ASL poetry and music.
In the midst of another all-too-frequent trip to the audiologist’s office, Jesse can’t help but wonder: when does it end? Jesse is a young man who has no choice but to navigate the hearing world as he explores the inner world inside his mind. This tension between his inner and outer worlds begin to manifest into an signed opera. The story inside him becomes more and more real as his mind wanders and fuels his desire for communication.