By Mark Rigney
The 1957 vintage American musical "West part tale" has been staged through numerous group and faculty theater teams, yet none extra bold than the 2000 creation by means of MacMurray university, a small institution in Jacksonville, Illinois. Diane Brewer, the recent drama head on the university, made up our minds so as to add an additional aspect to the standard calls for of placing on a exhibit via having deaf scholars practice half the elements. "Deaf aspect tale" offers a desirable narrative of Brewer and the cast's efforts to mount this difficult play. Brewer grew to become 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 forged her listening to Tony and deaf Maria, then got here the problem of training all of them to sing/sign and dance the riveting convey numbers for which the musical is popular. She additionally needed to deal with a chain of delicate concerns, from making sure the seamless incorporation of yankee 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 beautifully the development of the construction, together with the frustrations and triumphs of the leads, the labyrinthine campus and neighborhood politics, and the inevitable clashes among the deaf highschool forged participants and their listening to collage opposite numbers. His representations of the various contributors concerned are actual and extraordinary. the last word good fortune of the MacMurray construction reverberates in "Deaf facet tale" as a willing depiction of the way numerous targeted contributors from as many cultures may perhaps cooperate to accomplish a vintage American artwork shape brilliantly jointly.
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Extra resources for Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets, and a Classic American Musical
Unlike hearing actors, deaf actors (and interpreters) absolutely cannot perform in extreme low light situations. Diane explains that she and her technical director have talked about using scaffolds to ensure that everyone can be seen, and the group seems satisfied with this idea. Steve Tavender, ISD’s high school principal, makes an appearance midway through a rewrite of the fund-raising letter. He dresses neatly in a pine green blazer, and when he reads, he takes out gold-rimmed octagonal glasses.
What remains to be seen is how they will react after reading Diane’s preview copy, and whether such a reading will be enough to quell their apprehension. In the fall of 1999, just before the Mac/ISD production holds its first auditions, another production of West Side Story gained sudden and surprising attention. Amherst Regional High School, in Amherst, Massachusetts, made national headlines by abruptly canceling West Side Story, which was scheduled to be the school’s spring musical. Under pressure from a group of parents, teachers, and students who felt the production showed Puerto Ricans 31 Rigney Ch 03 8/27/03 1:52 PM Page 32 32 Deaf Side Story in an unfavorable light, teachers and administrators at the school elected to pull the plug entirely rather than soldier on with what might have made for a controversial show.
The basement of Rutledge Hall is warm and humid, and the English Department lounge, where the meeting takes place, looks tired and worn; much of the furniture, including the round wooden table that dominates the space, has lived here since the 1950s. A single blackboard competes for wall space with three tiers of unstable-looking shelves, and an old Gibson refrigerator hums and whirs in the corner. The refrigerator can be a major distraction to those who work or study here, but today, only two of the five committee members notice it at all, because neither Bob Dramin nor Paula Chance, a Deaf instructor from ISD who has taken Ruth-Ann’s place on the committee, can hear a single sound the Gibson makes.