NEW SHOW BREAK­ING DOWN THE LAN­GUAGE BAR­RI­ERS

Bilin­gual co­me­dian stars in drama pro­duced by Glas­gow com­pany with fo­cus on sign lan­guage

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY CARLA JENK­INS

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

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