Download Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets, and a Classic by Mark Rigney PDF

By Mark Rigney

The 1957 vintage American musical "West aspect tale" has been staged via numerous group and college theater teams, yet none extra formidable than the 2000 construction through MacMurray university, a small institution in Jacksonville, Illinois. Diane Brewer, the hot drama head on the university, decided so as to add an additional point to the standard calls for of placing on a exhibit by way of having deaf scholars practice half the elements. "Deaf part tale" provides a desirable narrative of Brewer and the cast's efforts to mount this tough play. Brewer became to the Illinois institution for the Deaf (ISD) to solid the Sharks, the Puerto Rican gang at odds with the Anglo Jets during this musical model of "Romeo and Juliet" set within the slums of latest York. listening to performers auditioned to be the Jets, and as soon as Brewer had solid her listening to Tony and deaf Maria, then got here the problem of educating all of them to sing/sign and dance the riveting express numbers for which the musical is popular. She additionally needed to deal with a sequence of delicate concerns, from making sure the seamless incorporation of yank signal Language into the play to reassuring ISD directors and scholars that the construction wouldn't be symbolic of any clash among Deaf and listening to humans. writer Mark Rigney portrays fantastically the growth of the construction, together with the frustrations and triumphs of the leads, the labyrinthine campus and group politics, and the inevitable clashes among the deaf highschool solid contributors and their listening to university opposite numbers. His representations of the numerous contributors concerned are genuine and distinct. the final word luck of the MacMurray construction reverberates in "Deaf aspect tale" as a prepared depiction of the way numerous unique contributors from as many cultures might cooperate to accomplish a vintage American paintings shape brilliantly jointly.

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Additional resources for Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets, and a Classic American Musical

Sample text

Paula spots Christopher Smith’s name in the section for artist-in-residence, and asks if Christopher knows sign language. When Diane explains that Christopher is deaf, the level of enthusiasm around the room rises instantly, mixed, it seems, with a certain palpable relief. Cara, who is hearing, speaks and signs simultaneously, and she brings up a litany of logistical hurdles, beginning with the overscheduling endemic at ISD. Most ISD high schoolers participate in athletics, and even those who don’t, tend to have schedules full up with other activities.

And, to the degree that a reader or viewer perceives these discrepancies to be a racist or intentional slight, West Side Story will remain a problematic production. 39 Rigney Ch 03 8/27/03 1:52 PM Page 40 40 Deaf Side Story Fascinated as she is by the mix of hearing and deaf actors in the Mac/ISD show, Diane has never had any intention of straying from the original script’s intent of portraying gangs of Puerto Rican and Polish descent. Issues of hearing and deafness will certainly drive the production’s specifics, but always from within the encompassing context of the Upper West Side as envisioned by Laurents and Bernstein and their collaborators.

Diane asks if there are objections, politically or socially, to shadow signing, because despite its evident drawbacks, it seems to be the best available option. Neither Bob nor Paula express any intrinsic objections—they merely want to see it done well, with care and attention to the needs of its target audience. Paula comments that when she last directed for the stage, she had two signers onstage, one male and one female, both clothed entirely in black. Diane starts taking notes, and the conversation segues rapidly (“Bob speaking, no, now Paula speaking .

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