School Library Journal
April, 1999, P. 66

It is heartening to learn about someone who refuses to allow a disability to keep her from success. Evelyn Glennie was a Scotch farm girl who dreamed of becoming a professional musician despite losing her hearing at a young age. Raised in a close and loving family, Evelyn refused to be limited by her deafness. She insisted on attending regular schools and not telling her teachers and classmates that she was deaf. Through sheer determination, she convinced a teacher that she could learn music and after years of practice her great talent began to blossom. This inspiring story is performed here as a play by the Childrens [sic] Theater of Wimbledon, England. Many viewers will relate to its theme of perseverance. However, this outstanding video really comes into its own in the drama classroom. With minimal sets and only five actors who play numerous characters, Playing From the Heart is a textbook example of how to act and how to stage a play. The staging is at once simple and sophisticated. Scene changes occur before the audiences eyes through the subtle use of lighting. Throughout the second act, there is a full set of percussion instruments at the back of the stage. As the actress Evelyn pretends to play instruments at the front of the stage, a real percussionist plays in the darkened background. The play ends with Evelyn's acceptance at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After the performance, the real Evelyn Glennie is interviewed about her career, her deafness, and her determination to succeed as a professional musician. At one point in the play the young girl keeps insisting, I am not disabled. I am not disabled. That message of defiant persistence in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds is one that today's youth need to hear. Show the video for that reason, or as an extraordinary example of live theater at its best. Either way, this is a remarkable production. -Linda R. Skeele, Western Elementary School, Georgetown, KY