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Richard Masur

You have to give people the opportunity to prove themselves.

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Most profoundly deaf people have speech that is very difficult to understand.

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There is no relation to sound for deaf people. It is a totally different mental process.

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I actually then went on to direct an after-school special where one of the characters was deaf. They hired me without even knowing I had any connection to the community.

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No one will ever argue that someone could have played Helen Keller better than Patty Duke. It was an incredibly demanding role and I don't think anyone can argue that it was a false performance.

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I know deaf people. I have discussed the issues with them I've also thought about them a lot so I have some insights that go a little further than people who haven't had contact with the deaf community.

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Spelling is very easy to practice yourself whereas signing is not. So I would sit on the subway riding around New York and I would spell whatever I would see. When I watched a movie I would spell words as they came up.

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For example, the first time McDonald's put a deaf person in a commercial they saw a jump in sales. I think that happens with other kinds of disabilities and products and that is something that is being realized more and more.

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But people who think they can project themselves into deafness are mistaken because you can't. And I'm not talking about imagining what a deaf person's whole life is like I even mean just realizing what it is like for an instant.

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The deaf community is in a favorable position because they have a national theatre and training groups of their own to get them started. Deaf actors have often acquired very valuable skills and experience before they get their break.

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