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Signing swear words: the stand-up comic bringing deaf culture to hearing people

Wry observations on daily life, sly turns of phrase, and aptly hurled swear words – a lot of what’s in the sets performed by the Greek-born, Edinburgh-based comedian Leah Kalaitzi is standard fare for stand-up comedy. However, as a deaf woman communicating in British Sign Language (BSL) in collaboration with a translator, Kalaitzi employs these tropes to singular effect. Although she often gets big laughs, her act aims to give audiences more than just a good time. Through humour, Kalaitzi endeavours to spread BSL culture, and foster communication between hearing and nonhearing communities. Part of Bridging the Gap, the Scottish Documentary Institute’s ongoing initiative to support emerging filmmakers, Silent Laughs follows Kalaitzi leading up to a showcase set at the Stand, Edinburgh’s premier stand-up comedy venue.

Director: Natalia Kouneli

Producer: Grant Keir

Website: Scottish Documentary Institute

4 April 2019

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