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Am I Paranoid?

"How is paranoia different from deafness?" is the question playwright and director William Moses tries to answer in his primer for the hearing world.

“How is paranoia different from deafness?” is the question playwright and director William Moses tries to answer in his primer for the hearing world.

Under the guise of a self-help lecture, he starts off explaining how words and their meanings are significant in getting along with and understanding other people.

Thus he takes the audience on a vivid, colorful journey through everyday experience, perceived from a deaf point of view.

He recounts his first airplane trip by himself, reflecting, “To everyone on the plane, I looked hearing.”

The poignant storytelling continues as he recounts seeing his older sister dancing for the first time.

He thought her radio was a magic box with an invisible spirit inside that told her to dance fast or dance slow.

When he put his hand on the speaker and moved to the vibrations, he was dancing, too, until someone told him that the news was on.

The laughs escalate with each experience, including religious confessions, telephone sex and Freudian analysis.

Actor Bob Daniels is an animated and endearing deaf actor and comedian.

His charm and wit are clearly conveyed as he captivates an audience for 90 minutes without intermission.

Paul Raci provides the soothing, colorful voice that enhances Daniels’ performance for the hearing members of the audience. The two men capture the anger and frustration of feeling different and sensing people are talking about you, compounded by the fact that you can’t hear them.

Am I Paranoid?

(Deaf West Theatre (Hollywood); 99 seats; $ 15 top)

  • Production: The Deaf West Theatre Company and artistic director Ed Waterstreet present a one-act play written and directed by William Moses, based on a concept by Bob Daniels and William Freda Norman. Lighting design, Ilya Mindlin; American Sign Language masters, Linda Bove, Stephen Schultz; Opened, reviewed Oct. 2, 1993; runs through Nov. 7.
  • Crew:
  • Cast: Himself ... Bob Daniels Bob's voice ... Paul Raci Am I Paranoid?" is an imaginatively staged one-man show with thought-provoking, ingenious writing that tunes into the insecurities of everyone. The difference here is, the man onstage is deaf, performing in American Sign Language, with a simultaneous voice translation for the hearing with head sets.
  • Music By: