Written & Directed by #DougRoland
As a youth, Robert Tarango idolised the leading men of Golden Age Hollywood, dreaming of becoming a movie star himself, one day in the future. When, decades later, he was contacted by writer-director Doug Roland, Tarango’s path to the media spotlight began to finally light up. But this is far more extraordinary than the average backstage success story. Tarango is both deaf and blind and, after twenty years as a Long Island kitchen worker, his childhood dream of finding fame on screen have become a reality.
Hoodie Tereek (Steven Prescod) spends a fun evening chilling with friends. Having planned to stay over at his girlfriend’s, Teerek’s plans change when she messages back to say it’s a no-no. Heading home, he encounters Artie (Tarango), a deaf-blind commuter. Assisting him to the nearby bus stop, Tereek finds himself bonding with his unlikely friend as he learns to communicate with Arite.
Inspired by Roland’s own true-life experience, Feeling Through is an enriching short film experience. Eager to cast a genuine deaf-blind person, Tarango’s presence brings authenticity and sincerity to Roland’s piece. Yet, it is Prescod who makes the whole thing click. Tereek is harmless and carefree and yet, within a few minutes, we get the feeling something is lacking in this young man’s live. There’s a certain rootlessness to the character; a lack of connection with others. His play with friends fizzles out, his girlfriend seems reluctant and he abrasively shoos away a homeless man in need of a quarter. Artie becomes not only a new friend that he genuinely does connect with, but also the conduit to his connection with the outside world. Soon, Tereek is left aggrieved by the apathetic attitudes of a shopkeeper and bus driver, wins the quiet approval of a stranger and slips cash to a street-sleeping stranger. In Artie, Tereek meets a special human who literally feels his way through the world. Through Artie, Tereek learns to feel more about others and the world around him.
All three men at the heart of this production share a remarkable story. At the age of 16, Prescod was arrested and jailed for robbery, before theatre helped him turn his life around. Adapting his life-story into a one-man show, Prescod caught the eye of none other than Prince William who personally contacted him with the prospect of a transfer to London’s West End. Roland’s 2011 encounter with the real-life Artie led to a nine year journey to bring to the story to the screen, culminating in a reunion with the very man he met all those years ago, New Yorker Artemio Tavares. Even more moving is Tarango’s tale. Born deaf, the aspiring actor had his dreams dashed when Usher syndrome also robbed him of his sight. Against all odds, Roland’s chance meeting with Tavares has not only led to Tarango’s belated screen debut but has also given him recognition as a public figure for the deaf-blind-community.
After a turbulent year where people are increasingly being forced apart, Feeling Through brings a much-needed tale of human connection to screens It’s a heartfelt, touching journey, sensitively handled by Roland, lent kudos by the presence of Tarango and, most notably, wonderfully played by Prescod.