Pushing boundaries

Helping Hearing-Impaired Students to be Seen: Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired Takes to the Stage for Science Play

- Covestro commissioned Godot Theatre Company to direct the play - The play covers science, sustainability and pushing boundaries - The play will form part of Covestro’s science education tour in the northern, central and southern regions, with an additional performance on Covestro’s family day

“We were born different from regular people, but our potential and skills far exceed a regular person’s imagination. Given the right opportunity, our inner glow can be lit and blossom!”, said Yi-sa, a student of the Taipei School for the Hearing Impaired and an actor in The Time Traveler’s Magic Show of the “Covestro MagicMaterial School.”

“As long as I am willing to, I can have the power to become whomever I want to be” is exactly the aspiration that Covestro Taiwan attempts to transfer to all the students through its new play combining sustainability and scientific knowledge. The play is the first part in the “Covestro MagicMaterial School” trilogy, with the other two parts focusing on the “Polymer Experiments” and the “Chemistry Magical Kingdom Experiments”, both closely related to the scientific knowledge communicated in the first part.

 “Covestro believes each of us has unlimited possibility,” said Michael Lee, Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan.“The power of pushing boundaries is what triggers potential, achieves dreams, and makes the impossible become possible.” In order to plant seeds of an interest in science in the young minds of hearing-impaired students, and to encourage them to explore different opportunities, Covestro has re-designed its scientific education program “Covestro MagicMaterials School” to better meet the needs of hearing-impaired students at Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired, Taichung Special Education School for the Hearing-Impaired and the Affiliated Hearing-Impaired School of the National University of Tainan. Students at the Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired who love to be on stage and yearn to have their performance seen by the world are now having their chance to shine in the experimental science play incorporating acting and dancing.

"The Time Traveler’s Magic Show"

Commissioned by Covestro and directed by Godot Theatre Company, the play is a time-travelling magic show involving characters familiar to students, such as Buckham – who wish to fly around the world in a solar-powered jet, and longs for a lighter and faster Bumblebee Camaro; power-saver Joy Chou – who wants to contribute to the Earth’s sustainability; Dr. Foam and  Professor Polymer, who introduce students to the concept of sustainability and material technologies. These firm favourites are joined by two students who want to become material scientists one day, Tiny Kitty and Mini Lion. Both are inspriing role models, with a thirst for knowledge, a love of challenges and puzzles, no fear of defeat, and good judgment to distinguish the facts from between the different advice and opinions presented to them in the course of their quest.

“Just like the catalyst in a chemical reaction, via our diverse scientific education activities, we hope to open the window and light a fire in the children’s hearts, as well as offer them a stage to perform for the world to see,” pointed out Michael Lee.  Tian-Qing, who acts the part of Dr. Foam in the play, added “I really like the values delivered in the play.  Whoever we want to become, be it a scientist, dancer or photographer, it tells us that as long as we are having those spirits, we will be able to heading in a march towards our goals by contiunusely pushing boundaries.” Like the story of Lorenzo’s Oil – a cure discovered by parents with no medical background, but with complete dedication to saving their child – the play also highlights how important breakthoughs in human history are often the results of continuously pushing boundaries.

Ru-Xien, the actor who brought the power-saver character Joy Chou to life and represented Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired in a play on the stage of the Outstanding Hearing-Impaired Person Commemoration Ceremony, noted that “This character allowed me to jump into an imaginary space, where my Bumblebee Camaro could have numerous possibilities!” Tian-Qing, who is equally passionate about her role as Dr. Foam, is also in charge of dubbing the character “Professor Polymer.” Tian-Qing often expresses her opinions in class, and repeatedly practices at home to have a perfect performance. Asked what she learned from this performance, she said “The character helped me bravely shed my shy personality, embrace myself, and made me curious about the foam experiment.” Yi-sa, who dubbed the characters Joy Chou and Buckham, not only embraced the challenge of dubbing two characters at the same time, but pored over the lines and the scenarios, trying to interpret different personalities and styles with various voices. He proclaimed excitedly that “I imagined that I was an animation voice actor! I was able to learn how to express a range of emotions for different characters with different voices and expressions.”
Ru-Ping, who is usually shy, played the role of “A/B molecule”, working together with “Safety Officer” Yi-wen, who is responsible for reminding students that safety is paramount during experiments. When asked about what she learned from this performance, Ru-Ping said “This is my first ever theatrical performance. Even though I was very nervous, I was also very happy! I really like acting with Yi-wen.” Her partner Yi-Wen also gave similar feedback, saying “It was wonderful to act with Ru-Ping. It allowed me to get to know my classmate more and to increase our friendship by practicing the script.”

The stage host Yu-Heng, who is frequently active in the school’s drama club, thinks that hearing and speaking impairments do not mean you have to give up your love of performing. His sence of achievement comes from discovering the power of lively facial expressions and body language to also capture the audience. Curious about new things, when he found out about the special polymer material that can allow scratches to disappear after being heated by a hair-dryer, he exclaimed “How amazing!”

For these children, a stage on which to show their performance to the world is the greatest recognition and encouragement to them. Er-Yan, who plays the superstar role Buckham, said appreciatively “Thanks to Covestro. We reached our potential to perform on stage, and showed everyone our ability and hard work!” Ai-Ai, who is responsible for the sound effects said: “I practiced very hard, and I’m happy to see myself improve.”

Fang-Duo, who was the oral interpreter during a Japanese school visit to Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired and interpreted the role of “Tiny Kitty” with lively body language and expressions, indicated “I hope our performance showed the public our capability and what’s in our hearts; it really is much much more than everyone thinks.” Dong-Liang, who played “Professor Polymer” and was in charge of opening the time-traveling door in the play which leads the audience into the world of chemistry magic, enthused “Even though Edison had impaired hearing, it did not stop him from becoming a great inventor. I hope this play will demonstrate our creativity and potential to everyone!” An-Bao, who played the role of “Mini Lion” and tried hard to portray the many faces of the character, said “I want to prove to the world that we can make it.”

A total of 16 Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired students auditioned for the performance before the final 11 were selected – a cast of students highly interested in the message of the show they enact. The nearly four months of training included 18 Godot Theatre Company professional training courses commissioned by Covestro, on top of which the students demonstrated their commitment by rehearsing outside of school hours. “We are deeply moved by Covestro’s corporate social responsibility,” said Liao Ting-Li, a teacher at the Taipei School for the Hearing-Impaired who has accompanied the students during the whole process. “The rehearsals were tough but I was also deeply touched by how the students actively asked Godot Theatre to train them by the standards of professional actors. The children really appreciate this chance and platform for performing given by Covestro.”

Besides the three shows put on during the “Covestro MagicMaterial School” education program in Taipei, Taichung and Tainan, Covestro will also invite the students – with reimbursement as for professional actors – to perform at Covestro’s family day in August, where Covestro Taiwan’s employees and family will be treated to a scientific feast of drama, dancing and experiments.

About Covestro:
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer producers. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro has 30 production sites around the globe and as of December 31, 2016, employed approximately 15,600 people.

Find more information at www.covestro.com.

Forward-looking statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at www.covestro.com. Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.