A New Kind of Listening takes us inside the creative work of the Community Inclusive Theater Group, as director Richard Reho inspires cast members, some with disabilities, to be writers, actors and dancers in an original collaborative performance. Together they prove that a small community arts project has the power to transform lives.
The film is witness to Chris Mueller-Medlicott’s early, unrecognized attempts to communicate, and to his journey from a lonely, withdrawn adolescent to co-director of the theater group. Over the course of a year, Chris, a young man who has never spoken a word and has been mislabeled profoundly mentally retarded, breaks through into stunning self-expression. Using intimate footage of rehearsals and performances, synthesized voice recordings of Chris’ words, archival home videos and interviews with cast members, the film is a remarkable record of events culminating in a performance of “The Song that Greens the Earth” at one of Raleigh’s most prestigious theaters.
A New Kind of Listening weaves together deep feelings, playfulness, vulnerability, and unexpected loss into a joyful, painful celebration of our connection to each other. The result is a groundbreaking film that will change your beliefs about intelligence, disability and what it takes to be heard.