July, 1999

Playing From The Heart. Globalstage. 1998; rel. 1999. 98min. $27 (pp). (1-892045-04-4). CC.

Ages 812. With "ears on the inside," Evelyn Glennie pursued her childhood ambition of becoming a professional musiciana solo percussionistdespite being profoundly deaf. A five-member cast (and a percussionist) of the Polka Theatre for Children recounts Glennie's childhood on a farm in Scotland, her progressive deafness, her unusual musical education, and her determination and persistence, culminating in her acceptance at London's Royal Academy of Music. Like other Globalstage productions, Professor Elizabeth McNamer hosts the program and introduces the play to a young friend, in this case they sit amidst the bustle of Trafalgar Square. The stage production features talented, empathetic acting, from Glennie's nurturing family and musical mentors to patronizing social service bureaucrats. The dramatization is imaginatively staged and beautifully scripted. Deftly transforming the theatrical performance to the video format, excellent, varied camera work alternates between audience-perspective long shots, intimate close-ups, and dissolves that blend viewpoints and gracefully telescope action. A studio interview with the real Evelyn Glennie, in which she discusses the play and her musical career, concludes the video. Movingly portraying a tenacious individual who refused to be defined by her disability, this video offers superb viewing for families and for students and others who will learn to sharpen their perception of the senses and sensibilities about disabilities.Irene Wood