Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Chris Lilley Portrays a Deaf Kid in "Angry Boys"

I have a Google news alert for "deaf" and an article popped up from the Guardian (UK paper), about "Angry Boys" a BBC "mockumentary" starring Chris Lilley of "Summer Heights High" fame. The author of the article applauds Lilley for "breaking the mould for fictional deaf characters" by portraying a deaf boy named Nathan who, because of his family lacking knowledge of ASL or any deaf awareness, lashes out with really inappropriate behavior.

Not only does Lilley portray a deaf boy named Nathan, but Nathan's twin isn't deaf. And they live on a farm. Whoa. This describes my deaf father to a T! Dad also is a twin whose brother is hearing and also lived on a very isolated farm. And his family had no history of deafness and so did not know ASL or about Deaf culture. (Initially. Many went on to learn ASL and become part of the Deaf community.) Dad's family also happened to be very strict and religious. Things that did not mix well with my father's wild personality and pent up frustrations from being deaf. In writing my book, Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir, and peeking under the layers of my father's life, I've tried to find the rationale for how he fell so far from grace. While there is no *single* reason, I can say with full confidence that his upbringing and deafness had a lot to do with it.

So I, for one, will definitely be tuning in to "Angry Boys" to get a glimpse of what my father as a boy may have been like. And because I liked "Summer Heights High" and enjoy Lilley as an actor. Unfortunately the series isn't available in the US as of now, but is scheduled to be on HBO later this year. Date TBD from what I can tell.

Angry Boys website: http://www.angryboys.com/
Twitter: @AngryBoys
Read the article on Guardian.co.uk: Why Angry Boys' puerile deaf kid is my hero; Nathan, an alienated teenager played by Chris Lilley, has broken the mould for fictional deaf characters

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