by Haley Flanders, dramaturg
Hello! Our show is up and running in the Margetts Black Box Theater on the first floor of the Harris Fine Arts Center on campus. Tickets are going fast! We will be having a post-show discussion on Thursday, March 24 around 9:50 pm in the theater, so even if you are not attending that performance, we encourage you to come and stay for that unique opportunity to ask questions to the cast and production team about the creation and performance of this fabulous show. EXTRA! EXTRA! Did you know that BYU's production of "The Taste of Sunrise" was in the local news? Click here to read an article about our show, featured in the Deseret News. The article is called. "BYU unites hearing, deaf communities in 'Taste of Sunrise'." It is a great interview with tons of insight from cast members, director Julia Ashworth, and stage manager Heather Richardson. This quote from the article encapsulates one of my own observations, which I believe is a major incentive to see this unique piece of theatre: The shadow signing featured in “The Taste of Sunrise” means that there are two actors for each part — one that speaks vocally and one that signs. “You really do get double the energy and double the emotions because you do have two people for each character,” said stage manager Heather Richardson. “Even if you don’t understand (sign language), it adds so much visually, emotionally. It’s very powerful.” [caption id="attachment_4553" align="alignright" width="202"]
Video montage of 13 members of the local Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.[/caption] And not only do you witness two characters in every role - one speaking and one signing. You also have two ways for learning about members of the local Deaf and Hard of Hearing community! In the lobby, you can watch them sign their stories in a video montage, AND read the translations of the signing on the back wall as you wait to enter the theater, as you hang out during intermission, or as you exit the theater at the end of the performance. [caption id="attachment_4554" align="aligncenter" width="342"]
Translations of the people in the video montage.[/caption] Below are the translations featured on the back wall of the lobby display, just in case you do not have time to read all of them when you attend the show. These people graciously volunteered to share their stories and inspiring messages, just like the character Tuc does throughout the play. It was Julia's hope that this production could highlight and bring a voice and attention to the often silent members of our community, and to let their messages of hope and identity further enhance the audience's experience as they follow Tuc on his journey toward an identity and a place to call home. Although Tuc is a fictional character, these people featured in the lobby display are real people in our own community, with powerful messages to share. They can truly empathize with Tuc and help to further emphasize the message of the play: to always focus on people's abilities rather than any abilities they may lack. I hope their stories through sign and text inspire you the way that have inspired me. (Note: Below is a collection of photos I took during the final dress rehearsal last week. To see the faces of the community members, you'll have to come and see the video!)
My name is Terrence. I was born Deaf in Santa Barbara, California. I started learning sign at age 2. Then in elementary school, I enjoyed being around Deaf friends. I had best friends that I could understand because we signed with each other. They had good language skills with facial expressions and body language. I really enjoyed that. Then at about age 5, my family moved to Utah. I met new Deaf people. I continued to be involved in the ASL Community and fascinated by ASL story telling. I went to a Deaf Ed. Program where I had interpreters and a sign language classroom. I really enjoyed that experience. How does this apply to my life now? I have a Deaf identity. I understand facial expressions, body language, Deaf Culture, and so many things. My language has improved so that now I am fluent. I can go to the Deaf Center for basketball or other Deaf activities, and because of all I learned growing up in the Deaf world, I can understand. It continues to be really powerful to have Deaf Culture be a part of my life. I’m really grateful I had sign language my entire life.
Hi, my name is Ben. I was born Deaf and grew up going to a hearing school, learning to speak and lip-read. I didn’t sign until I was 18. Growing up, I struggled to connect to the hearing community. I really felt it wasn’t my identity and something was missing in my life. When I was 18, I started meeting Deaf people and becoming involved in the Deaf Community and learning ASL. I really felt a strong connection. I knew that was my culture and language. I am now 25 so I’ve been involved with the Deaf Community for 7 years. I met my wife; I’ve been able to teach my kids sign language. I have felt more connected to this Community. I feel grateful for what ASL has given me in my life. Hi, my name is Nina. I grew up Deaf. When I was born Deaf, the doctor couldn’t figure out what had caused it. Still to this day, we don’t know. I attended different schools, but one school, JMS, was where I acquired sign language and found my identity. It was powerful. Then JMS “shut down” for a short time and merged with USDB. The culture of that school was to tell me all the things I couldn’t do. And I thought, “No, I can!” I learned that at JMS. I can do all these things! That really was the beginning of a life-long fight to overcome obstacles. Just like with getting my interpreting certification, that’s just one example of proving I can accomplish whatever I want.
Hi, my name is Ariana. I was born and raised Deaf. When my family found out I was Deaf, they started learning ASL, taking classes and different things as much as they could. They really took advantage of opportunities to learn. I grew up being able to communicate, interact, and joke around with my family. I watched my Deaf friends struggle to communicate with their families. They were so limited with speech and their family knowing minimal sign. I was amazed by the comparison. My family let me develop my Deaf identity. I have been involved in Deaf Culture and Community my whole life with sports and different activities. Being Deaf is a huge part of my identity. I’m really proud of that. I want to make a difference in the hearing community by being an example to hearing people that they can learn sign language and communicate with everyone.
Thanks and enjoy the show!