August, Auspicious, Augural – Mid-year Reflection

Summer is on the march, and the sun is moving further south each day.  After intense work preparing for Without Words, the very end of July and beginning of August felt like a needed nap.  I’m not sure what just happened, but I seem to have awakened to the 9th of August.

This week, with eyes wide open, I will be taking inventory, reflecting on the first half of 2015, before moving forward.

Thank you-all who helped launch Without Words.  It was a great success, and will continue somewhere, somehow.  First, I will back-up to get a better view and a running start for the next jump.

Stay tuned for the next adventure life brings.  In the mean time, may you-all see augural signs for a bright or, at least, interesting time ahead.

When I emerge, again, hopefully, I will have news or musings to share.

Take time to take care.

For slowing down, before charging ahead,


Communicate, Connect and Enjoy with or without words

In/Visible Theatre’s Without Words, a production based on A Man Without Words is happening, in Boone, North Carolina – everyone is here and working. We and the theater’s potential can change attitudes, opinions, provoke feelings, thoughts, and transform. People in the audience and on the stage will engage in that transformation, soon.

“If you can get to Boone (July 24/25), check out for tickets.

Interested in giving a gift to help with expenses for our great cast, crew, costumes, and other production costs?

Scroll down and click that “button” to the left.  Donate to Signs of Life’s fiscal sponsor, Trillium, a 501c3.  All gifts, until July 22nd, will support Without Words.  Thank you. (if you would like to give all the gift to Without Words, send me a check to save the PayPal;s fee: write check to Trillium and send to Susan Schaller, 200 Pilgrims Way #2, Boone, N.C. 28607 – good only from now to July 30).

Or, see:

And/or  write me, if you would like to see a clip of the show on DVD (not yet made – give us a chance to rehearse, first : )  ).  Read more below.

Human Connection with a blog and “Without Words”, the play

In/Visible Theatre’s Without Words has been more than an idea for a while, but now this production based on A Man Without Words is becoming more concrete daily, with people beginning to show up, in Boone, North Carolina, including me.  I’ve been wondering about the theater’s potential to change attitudes, opinions, and to provoke feelings, thoughts, and, hopefully, new behavior. It seems so much greater than a book or film.  Why is that?  My answer to that question has already been stated: “…people showing up.”

Theater’s power is engagement.  Not only do people show up to engage for weeks beforehand, exploring new ways to communicate, others show up for the performances to continue the exploration and the engagement.  This process is dynamic, changing with each member’s participation on or off stage, trying out bits of life with old, new and changing avenues to use all our senses, feelings, thoughts and dreams.

It pulls us back to a time when we first appeared on the stage of the world, and all we could do was watch, then learn how to feel, listen, make faces, walk, mimic, and laugh or cry at others’ faces.  We learned how to move our hands, bodies, tongues and lips to add to our facial expressions; our most powerful tools were tantrums, feet stomping or jumping in the air to show our glee.  We are all acting.  We just forget that most of the time, until Shakespeare and others remind us.  Those reminders, often at the theater, enliven us, touching that foundation of connection of our first years of life.

Without Words, hopefully, will do more than point to connecting, and BE transforming.  The story of two people meeting and changing each other, and their lives, is a part of Without Words; and, about the power of connection, the hows and whats of connection.  It is possible to watch a film or read a book, quite alone, observing “them.”  A great film or book may pull you in, but too many allow you to stay on the outside.  Without Words, if it does its magic, will pull us all in, to learn from each other, to engage in the dance that is “we.”  My wish is that we will all be transformed by seeing that there is no “them.”

Join us and we will celebrate being we.  See, above, for how to connect.

Alternative Living, Thinking, Economies: Alter-ism

In Oklahoma, on March 28th, I showed up to a teachers’ workshop along with about 75 other people.  The speakers, one Deaf and one Hearing, gave an excellent presentation, including the importance of a whole language, engagement, planning, team teaching, and seeing each student’s set of skills and needs. People took note: “start where the student is.”

Hundreds and thousands of people have pointed to the need for student-centered teaching or client-centered therapy or child-centered parenting or citizen-centered governing.  It’s such an old concept.  If it were a pair of shoes we would only see bare feet by now.  Why, then, do we need to hear, read, see or talk about it over and over, again?

That is a perfect seque to talking about myself.  I want to see me, tell you about my starting point, my opinion, my new, unique and brilliant perspective.  I want everything to be about me.  That desire doesn’t change when I become a teacher or a therapist or a parent or the president of the United States. Other-centered anything is a foreign concept to my ego, and always will be.  I, fortunately, am not only my ego.  The bigger-than-ego Susan, the Self that is connected to all of life needs to be reminded of otherness, many times, in order to counter that persistent ego who keeps whispering, singing or screaming: “me, me, me.”

War, fighting, competition, fear-based governing, bullying, violence – of any kind – is not called “alternative” ways of being.  They all grow out of that “me, me, me” mentality which immediately leads to “us-them” and “those people,” escalating to “enemies.” Alternative anything deals with otherness.  It is only when I contemplate the other as part of “me” that my thinking can be more creative and inclusive.  Do we need the Latin word?  Let’s talk about other thinking, other economies, other living.  Most people would agree we are not doing very well on many fronts.  Let’s try the other road.

Why not try an alternative?   Alternate (take turns with the other)?

Other ideas?

Thinking of others who may not have any funds, I am choosing to practice the gift economy – giving books, DVDs, and my time to building community and supporting education with ASLTales books/DVDs, A Man Without Words – book and DVD (short documentary), and NOW (trumpet and drums and hand waving): Without Words, an ASL/English play, celebrating what we can learn from OTHERs.  What can we learn from a languageless man?  What can we learn from Deaf people who use more of their cerebral cortex for visual information processing than hearing people?  How can we see what we can’t see?  Hopefully, the stage can launch our imaginations, and our journey to an alternative way of learning and being.

May Without Words inspire and transform, give us an alternative pair of glasses, and move us from “me” to “we.”  I am on my way to North Carolina where I will be helping to recruit and support Deaf actors, consultants, dancers, an ASL master or two, and a few token hearing people. : )  I can’t do it.  We can. The gift economy involves giving in all directions.

Give the gift of support of a Deaf actor and/or some expenses for a day or two or a week. Give the gift of an hour or three of ASL interpreting. We are over half way there.

We have a matching grant to match your dollars up to $1500 until May first. Let’s do it.

Give a gift at the button to your left, and help build an alternative world where we are they and they are us, an alternative reality, beginning on a stage in Boone in July.

For sharing stories to build community,