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A love play from the middle of the 1990s called Children of a Lesser God opens with James, the actor, beginning to experience memories of his time as a teacher at the school for the deaf. The show also makes an effort to highlight deaf people's rights. The main relationship in the play is between him and Sarah, a former pupil and a school janitor who he fell in love with. James tries to get Sarah to embrace trying to converse and reading lips, but she rejects him. The play's colorful backdrop can be read as a method to emphasize how important it is to be able to see in order to compensate for hearing loss. James has three roles in the play; he interprets Sarah's communication, expresses his thoughts through words and serves as the narrator of the play.
The disability portrayed in the play Children of a Lesser God is deafness. The characters in the play are deaf, and they use sign languages to communicate. The hallmarks observed include love. James and Sarah are in love even though Sarah is deaf and stubborn and does not want to learn how to speak. James, however, goes beyond her capabilities to try and learn to use sign language. He also tries to explain to her that knowing to talk would provide her with other opportunities in life. The struggles in the play are an injustice to the deaf community and difficulty in dealing with the society. Another hallmark is acceptance. The deaf community as seen by Sarah and Orin has accepted their disability and are trying to fight, the injustices they face in the school. Sarah wishes that her kids will also be deaf since she regards her condition as "silence filled with sound." The outside sound is not important to her, and she wishes that her kids will also be deaf. The teachers are so focused on teaching the students to learn to read lips and speak and hence Orin sees this as a pretense. They believe that the school hires deaf teachers who would help them appreciate sign language and hence will be seen as superior. It is evidenced when James is faced with difficulties when he tried to learn sign language.
The society does not want to accept people who are deaf. The deaf people are thus forced to feel as if they are inferior compared to those who can hear. This is the injustice that Sarah wants to fight and give the rest a sense of belonging. Sarah's mum viewed her daughter as retarded, and she travels a wide arc in a few scenes of the play. She feels frustrated as she is not able to communicate with her daughter. Reconciliation comes later, and she is now willing to accept the love of Sarah. Edna Klein, the attorney, in her act expresses to the audience her discomfort whenever she attempts to communicate and understand her clients who are hearing impaired.
The play tries to bring out the struggles that people with disability try to face when dealing with the society. Another challenge is that some characters like Sarah are so disinterested in learning how to speak and refuses to read lips. She believes that this is an injustice to the deaf community and does not want to conform to the hearing world. Orin Dennis is frustrated with Sarah as he believes that her love for James is blinding her and prevents her from fighting the injustice with zeal.
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