On Friday May 17, 7 Stages Theatre launched the newest installment of their annual Curious Sensory Series – Curious Sensory Encounters. This year’s theme was exploring the five senses, featuring ten immersive experiences (ranging from a dunk tank to an improv show) intended to encourage a deeper consideration of the importance and impact of our senses. The event overall took inspiration from Ilya Kaminsky’s book Deaf Republic, a poetic tale of an occupied country and the citizens’ unique way of fighting back by “going deaf”.

One of the installations featured this year was screenings of Alison O’Daniel’s documentary The Tuba Thieves, produced by Independent Lens. In line with the event’s theme, this exhibit explored the nature of sound and our sense of hearing. O’Daniel describes this film as a “listening project” that aims to reproduce and celebrate the hard-of-hearing experience. Using five distinct segments, the film engaged the audience in a layered auditory experience that analyzed and challenged the role of closed captions, sound segregation, cultural meaning in sound, and more. Audience members interacted with the film by holding balloons during the screening, which is a common practice for deaf and hard-of-hearing people attending movie screenings. In addition to the film itself, holding these balloons encouraged audience members to understand and experience sound in a new way.

Want to hear for yourself? Click here to learn more and watch the film.*

*Balloon not included