Posters shows an underwater experience with a blue-ish white outline of the signs for water movement. Titling “Caustic Effect” in white font. Then, “An ASL Opera and Visual Vernacular presentation”.

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Caustic Effect Synopsis

In the ocean blue, the sun beams through the water casting crisscrossed golden light along the seabeds. Here, a Merbebe is born with the ability to communicate with all the marine life in his world with his singing hands – a gift not many merbebes have.

The water creatures adore his sonorous hands and they fast become his best friends and teach him all the songs of the sea. This new ASL fairy tale follows the adventures of Merbebe and his journey of discovering and embracing the beauty of his gifts and his identity.

By Monique Holt

Director: Jules Dameron

With Landon Krentz, Amina Ouahid, Jamila Ouahid

Location & Date:

cSpace King Edward, Calgary

Sept 16 & 17, 7:00PM

On September 16 and 17 2022 at 7pm, Caustic Effect is a new opera work-in-progress by Monique Holt (USA) (Librettist) and Landon Krentz (Canada) (Artistic Director & Performer) in a partnership between Inside Out Theatre (AB), re:Naissance Opera (BC) and Swedish artists from Rikisteatern Crea (Sweden). The workshop performance brings in a professional director Jules Dameron (USA) as a part of the experiment

The production explores how language is seen, heard and understood by combining the movement, rhythmic structure, and meter present in Visual Gestural Communication (VGC), American Sign Language and music.

As part of Nordic Bridges, sign language theatre artists from Sweden, led by Mindy Drapsa (Sweden) (Artistic Director of Rikisteatern Crea), have been mentoring the core-creative team. Combining of online sessions and in-person mentorship to support the creative process development work and providing much needed theatre training access to Deaf artists in Canada.

In addition to Caustic Effect, there is a Visual Vernacular performance to be developed by Visual Vernacular specialists Jamila Ouahid (Sweden) and Amina Ouahid (Sweden).  They will be developing and performing with Landon Krentz as a part of the process. Therefore, there are two workshop shows in one sitting. Debbie Rennie (Sweden) is a Sign Language Arts Master to provide Landon Krentz specialized professional sign language theatre training prior to the workshop.

This mentorship is an in-person series of performance masterclasses to advance professional sign language theatre as an artistic practice. 


The Nordic community recognizes their countries’ sign languages as a basic human right by law – a stark difference to the realities in Canada. Nordic Deaf artists have the right to sign language interpreters that are completely funded and provided by their governments without any undue financial hardships. They have full access to professional theatre, acquire artistic training and are able to contribute to the cultural landscape of their countries. The fight for everyone’s right to express themselves in theatre has been the inspiration of Deaf theatre such as Riksteaterns Crea (Sweden), Teater Manu (Norway) and Teatteri Totti (Finland).

As part of the development process and collaboration with Nordic Bridges – a national arts and culture festival in Canada planned for 2022 – Deaf theatre artists from Sweden, led by Debbie Rennie, will mentor the core-creative team for Caustic Effect: An ASL Opera. This mentorship will be a combination of online sessions and an in-person series of performance masterclasses providing much needed theatre training access to Deaf artists in Canada.