Emma stands at a podium talking to the crowd that has assembled for the funeral of her best friend Tess. She recalls the first time that she met her on the playground paying hop scotch like two little girls should and it is in that moment that she learns that her soon to be best friend is hearing impaired. As they grow up together Tess teaches Emma sign language because she is the first person to want to communicate with her in her way. In a performance that spans from elementary school through high school we watch these two young ladies grow in their friendship. When Emma finds out how Tess lost her hearing their friendship is challenged in a way they never thought possible. How do you support someone whose life has been tragically changed forever at the hands of the people we are taught to trust the most? The silence that Tess had kept for so long is now forced to scream as the day nears that she must confront her abusers. Tess makes a final decision that will end all of her pain, suffering and fear but will also end her life. In the end Emma pulls herself together to memorialize her best friend who fought as long and hard as she could signing her way through all of her life’s pain, until she can no longer handle the hand she was dealt. ***Both actresses will use sign language throughout the entire performance.

Without Words

  • (Emma stands in front of a crowd of people, she is a young girl, strong. She looks over the crowd and begins to use sign language to communicate. She signs “I’ll miss you” over and over again until she finally smiles and begins to speak.)


    Emma: (Signing and speaking)“I’ll miss you.” (Stops signing and begins to only speak)That was the first thing that Tess taught me to sign. (Laughs)I was terrible at signing, like really terrible at it and she’s laughing at me and I’m so focused on what she’s doing with her hands and I want to get it right. (Tess appears in this moment she is six years old, Emma is still a teenager, only Emma can see her. Emma takes her hands)To a point that she literally took my hands and put them into position. (She does, Emma smiles.) I finally got it right. As I stand here today, in front of all of you, I hope that she (Begins to sign)sees how much I learned, how much I paid attention, (Tess begins to sign with her)how much someone could teach me who’s voice I can’t remember but I’ll never forget her presence. I’ll never forget her last words. Life was never the same after that moment, her last moment.




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