The Sound of Waves is an allegorical tale tracing the emotional landscape of performer Jodie Harris’ journey through losing her hearing, receiving a cochlear implant and finding her way in the world again, at fortyfivedownstairs from 3 October.
Meet Shelly, a normal girl who unexpectedly finds herself becoming more and more fish-like every day. She takes refuge under the sea only to find that one day even the sea is not enough, and she must search for a way to walk on land again…
Written by Gareth Ellis and directed by Naomi Edwards, this premiere season brings together a highly respected creative team and promises to be a spellbinding event some six years in the making.
At the age of six, Jodie Harris’ parents witnessed her racing around the house, panicked, unable to hear them, and it was soon confirmed she had a moderate to severe hearing loss. She would later come to rely on well developed lip reading skills through the next 23 years of her life, as her hearing gradually progressed to a profound loss.
Navigating the world as a deaf person in a time with no email, texting, and internet was an incredibly exhausting challenge, and required vast amounts of concentration to stay connected with people and the community. As time went by, Jodie began to retreat further and further from those she loved, and from the world.
Then, on the 11th of June 1999, while already studying acting at the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts, Jodie became the recipient of a cochlear implant, as a research patient. What followed was years of hard work, discovery, and finding her voice again.
“In 2007 I asked Gareth Ellis to write a script based on my experience of losing my hearing, and getting a cochlear implant,” said Jodie Harris. “In response, Gareth gave us The Sound of Waves; a play for a solo performer, with all characters to be portrayed vocally and physically.”
My first response was “how on earth am I going to do this?” Me, a deaf actor who has struggled for years to find a voice that could be heard, not only by her audience, but in the everyday world? Then a tiny voice inside me, in the words of the weedy Seahorse in the play, said… ‘I can do this. I can DO this.'”
The Sound Of Waves
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 3 – 12 October 2014
Bookings: (03) 9662 9966 or online at: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
For more information, visit: www.soundofwaves.com.au for details.
Image: Jodie Harris