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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Comedian signs about life between two worlds

    A comedian used sign language to convey his experiences as a hearing person growing up with deaf parents Saturday night before a packed audience in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Keith Wann, a child of deaf adults, or CODA, performed “”Watching Two Worlds Collide,”” a show about the merging of deaf and hearing worlds from the perspective of a child in the middle of it.

    The audience

    I remember when I was a little guy, I wanted to go the deaf school. My mom said, ‘You’re hearing. You are going to the hearing school.’

    -Keith Wann,

    was made up mostly of interpreters, CODAs and the deaf. Across the room, signing and talking went on before the show began.

    “”I have seen a part of Wann’s performance on the Internet, and I heard he is really entertaining in person,”” said Sydney Corbett, an American Sign Language interpreter.

    Brandy Resnick, a UA alumna and ASL interpreter, has seen the videos of Wann perform and said, “”He is hilarious.””

    This was the first time Resnick saw him perform live, and she said she was looking forward to his interpretations of music.

    Wann used ASL to interpret many songs, including Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “”Baby Got Back.”” He explained that his love of music comes from his parents blasting the radio in his ears as an infant, when they were trying to discover if he was hearing or deaf.

    When children are first born, hearing parents cry if they find out their child is deaf, he signed.

    Deaf parents cry when they find out their child is hearing, he added.

    As a child, Wann signed, his parents wanted the doctor to pierce his eardrums so he would be deaf like them.

    “”I remember when I was a little guy, I wanted to go the deaf school,”” Wann signed. “”My mom said, ‘You’re hearing. You are going to the hearing school.’

    “”I answered, ‘I don’t wanna go to hearing school. That is discrimination.’

    “”My mom said, ‘Too bad, you’re going.’ “”

    He complained to his mother that the people at the hearing school are “”all handicapped”” because they could not sign.

    “”My mom said, ‘That is your culture, go,’ “” Wann signed. “”Then I became a hearing person.””

    New to the hearing world, it took Wann time to adjust. He recalled when his teacher informed his parents that he needed speech therapy, he said. His parents became very excited and began taking pictures of him along with the note from the teacher.

    Wann’s wild energy and entertaining facial expressions kept the crowd laughing throughout the performance.

    The Disability Resource Center, the Sign Language Educational Interpreter Training Program and the Social Justice Leadership Center came together to bring Wann’s performance to the UA, said Cindy Volk, a professor in the College of Education’s Special Education, Rehabilitation and School Psychology program.

    Wann has been an extra in movies and television shows and has appeared on the television show “”Law and Order,”” Volk said as she introduced him to the crowd.

    “”I have deaf parents,”” Volk added. “”That is why I am excited to have Keith Wann (at the UA).””

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