The Sign-Language Theater of Berlin's Gal Naor
GAL NAOR NEEDS NO WORDS TO DELVE INTO SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY.
Despite the fact that both of Gal Naor’s maternal grandparents are deaf, he’s the first person in his family to learn sign language to communicate with them.
Little did he know that stripping away words for a deeper connection with his elders would lead to a lifelong exploration of the power of movement.
“I started to find my true artistic voice when I made the decision to shut down my own voice and only use sign language,” he explains.
After completing programs in performance studies and sign language interpretation in 2011, Gal moved with his partner from Israel to Berlin, where his formal education converged with a fascination for expressing religion, science and spirituality through movement.
The result was the creation of “The progressive wave,” an audio-visual theater troupe that blends dancing and signing into a new language.
In the first production, 2014’s bodieSLANGuage, both deaf and hearing performers move together as a singular unit that slinks along the black stage of a chapel while screaming and fighting. Spoken testimonials equating the transgender experience to a religious one are laid over visuals of pop-culture symbols like Madonna, examining the nexus of language, culture and identity, Gal explains.
Gal’s latest work, a trilogy called Science of Signs, continues into the void. The first chapter, Lights and Vessels, decodes movements and sign language both verbally and in writing projected on a screen behind the proscenium.
Gal's soothing voice narrates the journey with pontifications on modern science, ancient philosophy and Kabbalah. His voiceover is interspersed with drops of water, rattling breaths of air and throbbing bass.
The coalescence of the abstract and and the intellectual speaks to the spirit of inclusivity Gal says is essential to his work.
“We're all in this together,” he says. “Let's just create beautiful art.”