Jessi is a wonderful young woman in his mid-twenties. She has been deaf since she was ten years old. She transitions between her present age and her younger self so that she can share her story from the perspective of how she saw it as a child. She was born with Autism and was diagnosed when she was two. This was something that created a challenge within the relationship of her mother and father, but they managed to stay together and fight through it. But at the age of ten she began to show signs that something else was wrong with her. She is soon diagnosed with Acoustic tumors. They were growing on her brain and when they were removed it also caused hearing loss. Through her story she tells us how she fought through her Autism and learned how to speak the only way she could, through sign language. Her spirit is that of a fighter but her parents begin to feel the pressure of not being able to handle her diagnosis not realizing that she is actually thriving. It all comes to a halt when her father commits suicide from the pressure of not being able to help her. She is present with him when he takes his own life, stays with him until her mother returns and has forever been changed by the experience. Her story is one of heart and gives a better understanding for the things that we take for granted and don’t truly appreciate. (*This story can be performed by any performer. The writer gives this permission. Also, this character must be able to do sign language.)

Laugh to Hide the Tears

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  • (The scene opens with Jessi. She is a woman in her early twenties, and she is humming with great joy. She then turns to the audience and opens her mouth to begin singing, takes a deep breath in but when she exhales her lips move but instead of singing, she begins to mouth words as she signs the song that is in her head. She finishes her song and takes a joyful bow then addresses the audience. *Note: she may sign OR speak as much or as little of the text as she chooses.)

     

    You don’t have to be able to speak or speak clearly to be able to sing. Music is what got me through so many challenges in my life. Being an only child, being autistic, being strikingly attractive is probably my biggest challenge. (She pauses and thinks for a moment, laughs) Do I even need to state the obvious? Being deaf. But don’t fear me you can’t catch any of the things I have by being in the same room as me…now don’t let me rub your belly if your pregnant. (Laughs again) I’m joking, kind of. (Laughs, signs and says) “You have to laugh to hide the tears kid.” That’s what my dad would always say to me when I was a little girl. (Beat, remembering, signing) “You have to laugh to hide the tears kid.” He used to laugh a lot. (She signs) I talk best with my hands. (She speaks) I said that I talk best with my hands. Mostly because if I make a mistake or say something rude, you’ll never know. (She laughs and signs randomly.) I didn’t say anything, but it looked cool didn’t it? (Smiles) I went to a speech doctor once a week most of my childhood after it happened to help me to be able to speak clear enough to be understood but sometimes, I say to hell with it. Why should I have to speak for people who can’t understand what my hands are already saying? (Signs) “If you would just listen to me you would be able to hear. Are you listening?” (Beat, she speaks and signs) I said “Are you listening? Because all you have to do is listen to me and everything will make sense. (Beat, she laughs again, signs) “Just listen.”