I can’t say enough about Marlee Matlin‘s appearance at Bunker Hill C0mmunity College in Charlestown, today. She was funny, enlightening, open, friendly and entertaining. She’s overcome much to enjoy the success she does, and her message transcends the Deaf community and speaks to the underdog in us all.
Ms. Matlin’s parents were supportive and nurturing, and they started her out in Sign, early. Unlike many parents of Deaf children, they learned the language themselves, along side her. So, Marlee was quite fortunate to have missed the gaping communication gap that many Deaf must endure. Nonetheless, they were reticent about her going into acting as a career, and tried to dissuade her – in none but the nicest of ways.
She goes on to say, that it was Henry Winkler who initially gave her the confidence to try, and Winkler has remained a lifelong friend.
I wanted to shoot some highlights for you, but I was hesitant to video the whole show. She is after all a star, and I didn’t want Disney sending the Copyright Police out after me.
There were several interpreters on hand to interpret signed questions as well as to convert spoken questions into sign, although Ms. Matlin can hear with her aids. Most interesting however, was the interpreter whom she apparently works regularly with, who read the English translation of her sign for the audience. I actually found that I could follow her, without having to listen to him at all. I’ve only been signing for about 9 months, but I could understand pretty much all she said.
After the speech was a Q&A. I raised my hand multiple times but wasn’t picked. I didn’t have a question for her. I merely intended to say – in Sign – “Hi, my name is BitcoDavid and I’ve been signing for about 9 months. I just wanted to sign to a genuine movie star – and have her sign back.” I had actually practiced that bit, the night before. But, alas it was not to be.
The auditorium was packed! I was glad to see such a huge turnout, but of course it made for difficulty getting in and finding a seat. Still, SRO is great for a Deaf performer at a one-horse community college. I couldn’t have spent my time any better.
There was also a mess of food I couldn’t eat – Carbs, that old chestnut – and a book signing. I thought about hitting her with my ASL dazzle then, but the line was prohibitively long, and I only had a 2 hour parking window. In Boston, people have been murdered over parking spaces – so I decided not to push my luck.
Guess I’ll just have to wait and sign to the next Deaf movie star to hit town.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.