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Acting With Insight

Editor's Note: Lynn Chu lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing and working out at the gym. Her volunteer work has included helping immigrants to learn English.

When I was a teen, I began acting during the summer with the Insight Theatre Company in Toronto. I was there for several years, and it was very rewarding and a real accomplishment for me, considering I can't see and I thought I would never be able to do something like that.

I worked with blind, vision-impaired and sighted actors alike, as well as with both amateurs and professionals.

In my first two years I was in Duck Tales, a musical comedy about a group of farm animals that is threatened by a wolf, and the romance between a bull and a duck.

Initially, I had a minor role as a goose, Lucy, but in the second year I played a pig named Pickles. This role was great because I could play a more fun character and also sing and dance.

I wanted a bigger role though, and I wasn't sure I was going to show up for the third year. But I got a phone call from the director, and he told me I would have a major role in a play called Whispers of Moonlight. I would play Sashico, the central character, in a drama about a blind woman who is part of a Himalayan mountain tribe and who is engaged to a fellow tribe member. She falls in love, however, with a sighted, non-tribal plane crash survivor.

That role definitely involved more memorizing of lines, and I had to keep going over them. At times one of the actors would listen to me recite, and when it came to rehearsing, the other main actor and I would practice the particular scene with the director.

I did a variety of serious scenes--scenes of anger, crying, etc.--and there were also funny scenes. The director would tell you what he wanted, and you really had to concentrate on how you would convince the audience of the emotion. By rehearsing the play over and over, the lines and emotions come naturally.

In both Duck Tales and Whispers of Moonlight, parts of the stage were carpeted so you could determine your position, follow the track and move into place. It also helped that the director told you if you started your part from stage left or stage right.

Moreover, in some scenes a blind actor was paired up with a sighted actor. In Duck Tales, for example, I was paired with a sighted actor when dancing--up in the air, kick on either side of my partner, straddle and then thrown back down on my feet.

Overall, I really enjoyed acting. I was in different magazines and in the Toronto Star with the main male actor of Whispers of Moonlight. Just because you have a disability, it doesn't mean you can't do it. It is something to be proud of.