For an entire week they learnt to dance hip-hop, ventured into acting and song, and learnt the secrets of stage lighting and sound – all without the aid of verbal communication. All they had was sign language, sound vibrations and a profound and personal relationship with those who were giving this unique workshop on the musical “Streetlight”.
This workshop which is very unique both as a musical and human experience took place on 5-12 November 2012. It involved Gen Rosso and 155 teenagers from the LVR-Gerricus-Schule and the Hauptschule Montessori. Many of the students were hearing impaired and some had learning and behavioral problems.
What they managed to create among them was new and unexpected: they said they had created a “space for mutual exchange”. On the one side there was the opportunity to learn the art of listening, learning to ‘spend a small stretch of our life’ alongside hearing impaired youth from several social and faith backgrounds. On the other side it provided an opportunity to dress up the musical in new forms of artistic expression: short light shows, acting and song using sign language.
At the end of the week there were many expressions of gratitude both for the work that had been done and for the indispensable supplement of love that everyone had put into it. As a motto for the week they chose the title of one of the songs from Streetlight: “Count me in!” This song is sung by one of the characters during the show, who sings it to tell of his desire to join the others in living for the ideal of peace and fraternity. “I’m so proud of my students,” said the director of LVR-Gerricus-Schule at the end of the show, “because performing a musical in spite of their hearing problems is quite a challenge, but it was possible thanks to Caritas Verband Colonia, the Starkmacher Association and Gen Rosso” .