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Performing Arts in the Deaf Culture

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Laureen Scianimanico

on 26 April 2013

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Transcript of Performing Arts in the Deaf Culture

By: Laureen Scianimanico,
Meryl Smith, & Nicole Whyne Performing Arts in the Deaf Culture NATIONAL
THEATER OF THE DEAF - Came into existence in the 1960s.
- A touring theater group comprised of deaf and hearing actors who entertain audiences worldwide through music, sign language, and the spoken word -Planted the seed for modern deaf theatre.

-In 1967, only 6 people bought tickets to see their first performance. Most of these people were curious to see how the show would turn out.

-Today, the NTD has wowed audiences across the globe, having performed in all 50 states and all seven continents.

-NTD is more than just providing theater accessible for the Deaf; it's about the Deaf performers sharing a piece of their culture with hearing audiences.

-Because of the NTD, hearing audiences get to experience a part of art within Deaf culture

-Although it is a touring company, the NTD's "home" is located in West Hartford, CT. Founded in 1991 by Linda Bove & her husband in California

It's primary goal was to enrich the cultural lives of Deaf & hard-of-hearing individuals in L.A.

To date, DWT has produced over 40 plays and 4 musicals, won more than 80 theater awards, performed on Broadway, and has been nominated for one Tony Award. Famous Deaf
Performers Phyllis Frelich is a deaf actress who played Sarah in the play version of Children of a Lesser God. She was a founding member of the National Theater of the Deaf. She had performed in productions with the Deaf West Theater, such as A Christmas Carol. Linda Bove is a deaf actress who performed with the National Theater of the Deaf. She was Phyllis Frelich’s understudy in Children of a Lesser God. She played Linda the Librarian from Sesame Street. She Founded the Deaf West Theater with her husband, Ed Waterstreet. Ed Waterstreet, founder of Deaf West Theater, produced 40 plays and 4 musicals. Previously, he was a member of the National Theater of the Deaf. C.J. Jones was born hearing to deaf parents and went deaf at age 7 from spinal meningitis. He is an actor, comedian, producer and director. He was cast as “Orin” in the play Children of a Lesser God. He acted in TV shows such as Lincoln Heights and Sesame Street. He has written several one-man shows that he has preformed in the US, Ecuador, Japan, Sweden, Australia and Canada. Howie Seago is a deaf actor and director that was born deaf. He joined the National Theater of the Deaf in college. He was cast as the father in Beyond Silence and has appeared on Star Trek. He has produced plays, casting both hearing and deaf actors. Shoshannah Stern is an actress who was born deaf. She attended Gallaudet College. She had roles in many plays for the Deaf West Theater, such as Open Window, Children of a Lesser God, Romeo and Juliet and Aladdin. She has appeared in more recent shows such as Weeds and Lie to Me. History and Basics of Deaf Theater Different things need to be considered when putting on a play that uses Sign Language, such as the placement of the props and the actors. The lines and their delivery also need to be considered, so that the audience can follow what is happening in the play.

When Deaf theater began, it was Deaf people performing for Deaf audiences. The theater has evolved, and now it is comprised of Deaf and hearing people performing and watching together. The goal of Deaf theater is to translate the original linguistic material into sign language, while also including dramatic action.

Sign language is a very visual language, and when utilized in a performance the signs become "theatricalized." Finger spelling usually is not used since it is hard to see from the audience. Deaf Theater can serve multiple purposes including: entertainment, and educating about deafness and sign language; especially for hearing people.

Performances help expose hearing people to Deaf culture. Story telling and folklore have always been very important in Deaf Culture.

Deaf theater became popular starting in the 20th century.

The popularity of Deaf Performing Arts was passed through residential schools and Deaf clubs.

Gallaudet College has had a theater club for as long as anyone can remember. Gallaudet officially started offering theater classes in 1957, and developed a Drama Department in 1963. The change from totally signed performances to performances including both sign and voice interpreting began because audiences were changing.

As Deaf Theater gained popularity the audience transitioned from mostly Deaf to a mix of people both within and outside the Deaf Community. These new viewers often could not understand sign and needed vocal interpretations.

At first the dialogue would be spoken and then signed, but now it is done simultaneously.

The change in communicating with the audience, led the actors to change how they performed; largely because of the presence of hearing people both in the crowd and onstage acting with them.
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