NEW SHOW BREAKING DOWN THE LANGUAGE BARRIERS
Bilingual comedian stars in drama produced by Glasgow company with focus on sign language
AS Scotland’s only bilingual comedian, native Gaelic speaker Carina has turned her talents for the first time to the small screen for children in new BBC Alba drama Rùn.
Rùn – titled Private Pet in English – was filmed in Portencross, West Kilbride, stars 11-year-old Cieran Darroch in his acting debut and was produced by Glasgow’s Sorbier Productions.
A profoundly deaf child, Cieran champions the use of British Sign Language on screen – with the show the first of its kind to do so, and its adult actors following suit.
Cieran’s character, Sìm, gets up to mischief as he spends the holidays with his granny – and intervenes when the owner of a dog he’s befriended tries to get rid of it.
“It was an absolute pleasure to do, and I would love to do it again,” Carina told The Glasgow Times.
“Working with Cieran was an absolute pleasure. There is so much going on on a film set, and he wasn’t phased at all. I can’t drive and there are a lot of scenes in a car, and he was the one asking me if I was nervous,” Carina, who is based in Glasgow, laughs.
Although she has worked as a theatre and broadcast actor for around 25 years, Carina began doing stand-up in 2013. Her foray into acting began with her solo show. Fibro My Arth! was a raucous account of daily life with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, with which she was diagnosed some years ago.
“I invited a few producers to
the Fibro, which was in English, and Bill Macleod of BBC Alba and Patsi Mackenzie of Sorbier were invited along also. They told me that at half time, they turned to each other and thought I would be ideal for the part.”
And although she too suffers from a hidden disability, Carina said she was initially nervous about the dynamics of the show, in which Cieran uses BSL and Carina translates into Gaelic.
“Although Cieran has cochlear implants, he converses in BSL most of the time,” says Carina.
“He can lip read as long as you say something. It is so natural for us to talk to each other and not be aware that someone isn’t facing you.
“There are also words you can’t say – for example ‘don’t’ has the same word as ‘do’, it is the same facial instructions. Initially there was a lot of tension in the translations between BSL and Gaelic, because there are less words, and then there was a dog and a car on top of that. It was a lot, but I loved it.”
Carina hopes the show will bring Gaelic to a broader audience, which she says is already growing.
She explains: “120,000 people signed up on Duolingo last year to learn Gaelic. It seems to be growing rapidly in popularity and I’m glad things are changing.
“Before there was a stigma attached, just as there was about speaking in BSL, as if one was less able if they conversed like that.
“We have seen it before with signed programmes or subtitled Gaelic versions on late at night and people are not nocturnal.
“We need these kinds of programmes during the day, for children as well.”
It is so natural for us to talk to each other and not be aware that someone isn’t facing you
Carina Wilson, alongside (above-right) director Mairead Hamilton and co-star Cieran Darroch as they filmed Private Pet