Reviewed by Mary Ann Randazzo
I was looking forward to seeing “Eddie,” one of the performances at the Midtown Festival about a hard-of-hearing boy bullied by a classmate, because of my love for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. I know the struggles this culture has with the hearing world and how hearing impaired children/teenagers are bullied by those who are ignorant to the fact having a hearing loss isn’t really a disability – the disability is for those who are fearful of not knowing about the culture.
Unfortunately, the performance wasn’t what I expected. I was disappointed that Eddie, played by Yair Ben-Dor, didn’t appear to be hard-of-hearing. The cast members spoke to Eddie in his bad ear, spoke to him while his back was turned, turned away from him while speaking, all the while Eddie responded. These are things you do not do to a person who is hearing impaired. This should have been caught while rehearsing the play, although some audience members not familiar with people who are hard-of –hearing wouldn’t have noticed, I did. If you’re going to write a play about a disability, then my guess would be to understand the disability.
In addition, the scenes with Eddie’s friend Linda (which made no sense to me) could have been cut out and spent more time delving into Eddie’s bully then turned “pal”, Greg played by Jacob Banser, in which the audience would have understood the fascination he had with Eddie and his own fears of his newly discovered disability.