Beauty and the Beast tells the story of Beauty, a lovely
young girl forced to leave her home and live in the castle of
an ugly, scary monster. Only in that way can she save her
beloved father, who stole one of the creature's precious
roses, as a gift for her. To her surprise, the Beast proves
kind. But each day, the Beast asks Beauty if she will marry
him... and each day Beauty refuses. Taken by the Beast
into a haunting world of misty gardens and candlelit
chambers, Beauty discovers that physical attractiveness is
of far less importance than the sterling qualities of
kindness and love. Will Beauty ever realize how special and
wonderful her Beast really is?

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                                Sign Stage on Tour

The history of Sign Stage on Tour is found in the history of Cleveland Signstage
Theatre. With the cooperation and emotional support of Cleveland Signstage
Theatre a new touring company was born. Sign Stage on Tour was created as
an equal but separate “touring arm” of Cleveland Signstage Theatre. With their
first three touring productions under their belt, Sign Stage on Tour prepares
itself for an even larger and longer fourth tour for the year 2005. Created by
William Morgan (Signstage Theatre’s current artistic director) and Erin
LaFountain (Signstage Theatre’s current Administrative Assistant) Sign Stage
on Tour will maintain the excellent reputation originally created by Cleveland
Signstage Theatre. The name is slightly different but the distinctive technique
of sign language theatre continues unchanged.

Cleveland Signstage Theatre (formerly Fairmount Theatre of the Deaf) was
founded in 1975 by one deaf actor, Brian Kilpatrick, and one hearing actor,
Charles Saint Clair. This unique form of theatre integrates the experiences of
two distinct cultures. Since that time SIGNSTAGE has established and
maintained a reputation for bringing to the stage new expressions in the art of
the theatre.    Combining the beauty of American Sign Language, the
imagination of mime and the richness of theatrical text, SIGNSTAGE continues
to explore new manifestations of traditional performance art.

In July 1990, Cleveland Signstage Theatre became the first professional theatre
company in the United States lead by a deaf artistic director, Shanny Mow. In
the fall of 1993 SIGNSTAGE was the first theatre to have a deaf Business
Manager, Kian Guan Au. In 1996 Aaron Weir became SIGNSTAGE’S second
deaf Artistic Director, and in 1998 he became the first deaf individual to hold
the position of General Manager for an American theatre.


While Sign Stage on Tour’s purpose is to produce and maintain a national
children’s theatre touring company, Cleveland Signstage Theatre's purpose
remains the same.       Its emphasis has recently shifted from producing
mainstream plays for the entertainment and cultural enrichment of adult
audiences to special programming for students in all grade levels. Cleveland
Signstage Theatre’s current mission statement is:

To present engaging educational programs that involve theatre arts, American
Sign Language and Deaf issues in order to create greater sensitivity to deafness
and other diversity issues and to improve social and learning skills and self-
esteem of deaf individuals.

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SIGNSTAGE has maintained an exceptionally active performance schedule in
addition to educational outreach programs that provide residency experiences
of variable lengths to deaf and hearing communities throughout the country.
Residencies feature performances, classes and workshops designed to provide
sign language theatrical experiences to new and seasoned performers. All of
our programming and performances are conducted with both deaf and hearing
actors working together in the classroom or on stage.

In the fall of 1995 SIGNSTAGE began touring with its first ever National Tour
Children of a Lesser God to 32 cities in nine weeks. In the spring of 1997
Winnie the Pooh toured 63 cities performing for over 162,000 children and
adults. Last year’s tour conducted by Sign Stage on Tour, was Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory. That tour was four months long and we performed 128
times in 56 cities from Seattle, WA to Waterville, ME to Harlingen, TX. SIGN
STAGE on TOUR continues its national touring as part of Cleveland Signstage
Theatre’s yearly activities.

SIGNSTAGE has won four local Emmy Awards and two Cleveland Drama
Critics Circle Awards. In 1991, SIGNSTAGE was the first recipient of the Ohio
Governor’s Award for Arts Outreach.         Internationally, the theatre has
represented the United Stages at the 8th International Pantomime Festival of
the Deaf in Brno, Czechoslovakia and the Jerash Festival in Amman, Jordan.
In 2002, SIGNSTAGE performed it’s deaf theatre adaptation of Snow White at
DeafWay II in Washington D.C., the largest most well attended deaf arts festival
in the world.

Special Note:

When you attend a SIGN STAGE on TOUR performance, you will see a unique
integration of spoken English and American Sign Language presented on
stage… simultaneously. You see the signing of the characters as they speak
their lines. You’ll also hear the voice of the same character spoken by a
hearing actor. Hearing actors with wireless microphones supply the voices of
each of the characters as they sign their lines. Very quickly, you will become
accustomed to this new way of enjoying theatre. You will be amazed and
delighted with the unique experience that is SIGN STAGE on TOUR!

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Management Consultant - Lisa Winstel was selected by the management
team to assist the theater because of her educational training, management
experience, leadership ability, and financial orientation. She has a BFA in
Theater Production and an MAM in Arts Management with Honors, both from
Carnegie Mellon University. She has nine years experience as general manager
of performing arts organizations. Since joining Signstage in October 2000, she
has demonstrated her fiscal and organization skills and her ability to lead a
well-motivated artistic team.

Artistic Director/Producer - William Morgan has been a member of
Cleveland Signstage Theatre’s artistic company for seven seasons as an actor,
director and playwright. He has more than 30 years experience in producing
theatre raging from simple one acts to huge outdoor productions incorporating
300 actors with live horses in Civil War battle scenes complete with gun and
cannon fire. He is skilled at translating scripts into ASL and creating
adaptations that highlight deaf characters and issues that fulfill the Signstage
mission. He is knowledgeable about all aspects of production from creating
new works to set design. He handles a wide range of responsibilities, including
preparation of promotional materials and negotiations with the theatre’s
booking agent and performance venues.

Administrative Assistant/Producer - Erin LaFountain is an accomplished
actress and ASL interpreter for Cleveland Signstage Theatre. She is using that
background to help better organize the theatre’s internal procedures and
communications. She is also responsible for local audience development,
particularly bringing local schools in to see performances.

Staff - Six experienced and enthusiastic actors support the Signstage staff.
They form the artistic company. Altogether, the Cleveland Signstage Theatre
team includes three directors, two playwrights, eight actors, two ASL
interpreters/teachers, three acting teachers, and a mime teacher. As a theater
collective, they serve multiple roles including educational and administrative

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Workshop Information
                                2005-2006 Season

Sign Stage on Tour is pleased to offer workshops in association with Cleveland
Signstage Theatre’s Educational Outreach program. The uniqueness of our theatre is
in how we integrate American Sign Language with the spoken word on stage. Any deaf
or hearing person can attend one of our workshops as each workshop is conducted by
a minimum of one hearing and one deaf leader.

The craft of performance is multi-disciplined. We welcome the opportunity to work
with presenters. We can design programs, which specifically meet your needs. These
workshops, with a little adjustment, can be expanded to half-day, full-day, full-week
and multi-week residencies.

Below you will find a general description of the workshops. The following workshops
can be adapted for all ages. When forming groups of children, it’s best to keep the
ages of the participants similar in each group. Class size should be 3-15. Time
requirement is 45 minutes per session.

Communication Workshops: The use of sign language lends itself to physical
expression that becomes an effective tool for communication.

Non-Verbal Communication:        Learn to understand the process of non-verbal
communication by engaging in physical exercises that lead to communication on a
common level without the use of a spoken language or sign language.

Sign Language for signers: Develop an understanding of how to effectively articulate
and use ASL on-stage and discover script translation techniques.

Sign Language for Non-signers:     Introduction to survival signs for basic
communication and use of physical methods of communication in every day life

Acting/Creative Dramatics: The process of developing characters is explored.
Relationships are established amongst characters and objectives are identified.

Movement: Developing physical language through the exploration and use of space.

Story Telling: Define the qualities of a story through the development of the narrative
into physical space.

Improvisation:    Through the use of specific exercises and games the role of
improvisation as a tool is used for developing the imagination, expanding self-
confidence, spontaneity and interpersonal trust.

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                      What people have said about
                        Cleveland Signstage Theatre

A Taste of Sunrise

   “This is a beautifully crafted production, moving and spare as a ballad…the focus remains
   on the actors, who both speak and sign…”
                                            -The Cleveland Plain Dealer
   “…the play (is a) fluid blend of speaking and singing. With the eight actors tackling 16
   roles in quick-changing succession and trading off as speakers and signers for each other,
   one might expect the well placed two acts to be occasionally confusing. Not at all. (A Taste
   of Sunrise) brims with such warmth, wisdom, compassion, playfulness, sadness and
   spirituality that it could give a new generation of theatergoers their first satisfying taste
                                           -The Columbus Dispatch
Peter Rabbit
   “Has a lyrical flow and moments of real beauty…The two hearing actors can both sign as
   they speak roles they play themselves, or they can unobtrusively voice the words the deaf
   actors are conveying though signs without taking the focus from their colleagues.”
                                          -The Cleveland Plain Dealer

   “There’s a sweet sort of innocence here you won’t find packaged in a child’s video
   game…staging is purposely clear and simple to follow.”
                                         -The Cleveland Free Time

A Story’s A Stor
   “Most interesting is the form of presentation, designed, as usual at Signstage, for a mixed
   hearing-impaired and hearing audience. …Because of the skills of all involved, it’s an
   unusual and exhilarating effect.”
                                            -The Cleveland Free Times
   “...showed sign language at its best, used for pure enjoyment in a story the kids just love!”
                                            -Teacher, C.L. Smith School, San Luis Obispo, CA

   “This performance (of Winnie-the-Pooh) enabled my students to become more aware of
   another form of communication. Thank you for bringing such a fine performance to our
                                           -Teacher, Postville Elementary School, Decorah, IA

   “The actors were very personable and open with our students (in the workshop). They
   seem to enjoy and encourage open and frank questions about being deaf and its effects
   on the actors lives both privately and professionally.”
                                             --Teacher, South Point Elementary School

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Signstage Theatre brings 'Robin Hood' to BYU
By Sharon Haddock
Deseret Morning News

    PROVO — The actors in "Robin Hood: Thief of Hearts" had a complicated task ahead
of them when they accepted roles in the Signstage Theatre production.
    "Signstage On Tour" is one of the few professional theater companies in the United
States that features deaf and hearing actors on the
same stage in every production.
    Not only must they learn lines and movement for
the classic children's story about Robin Hood, Maid
Marian and Robin's merry band of thieves, they
must interpret and memorize the sign language to
go with it.
    "It's a complicated process. It's almost like
having to choreograph the words," said Bill Morgan,
artistic director for the touring shows. "We're trying
to use as much American Sign Language as possible,
but American Sign Language doesn't have the same
sentence structure as English or spoken language so
we have to work to make it match," Morgan said.
"It's more complicated and it takes more rehearsal
    Apparently it's worth it.
    Morgan said even audiences filled with fairly rowdy children get pulled into the
story, mesmerized by the flying fingers backed up by voices.
    "We get extremely good reactions from our audiences. It's always fascinating to
watch. The characters talk to each other in sign language and then we put voices behind
them if it's a deaf actor so we have both dialogues going," Morgan said. "It's a children's
story but it's family entertainment."
    Signstage is based in Cleveland, founded in 1975 by deaf actor Brian Kilpatrick and
hearing actor Charles Saint Clair to expose audiences to the deaf culture and American
Sign Language. The touring company was started in 2001 and does a show each year in
as many as 50 venues.
    Each show features both deaf and hearing cast members.
    "Robin Hood: Thief of Hearts" comes to Brigham Young University's Pardoe Theatre
Feb. 22 and 23 with shows scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and a 2 p.m.
matinee Wednesday.
    Tickets are on sale at the Fine Arts Ticket Office for $9 with a $3 discount for
students and children. Matinee tickets are $5 each. Call 378-4322.

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Published on Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Speaking their language

As soon as Jesse James Kamps jumped on stage
Tuesday morning, his arms were flailing, his hands
were moving a mile-a-minute and his face was full
of expression.

The kids in the first few rows of Davis High
School's auditorium strained to see, they laughed
and signed quietly to their friends. Here was
someone finally speaking their language.                      Jesse James Kamps uses American
                                                              Sign Language as he plays the part
                                                              of Robin Hood during a performance
Kamps, decked out in the forest green suit of his
                                                              at the Davis High School theater
Robin Hood character, is the lead in the Sign Stage           Tuesday morning. The play was put
on Tour's production of "Robin Hood: Thief of                 on by the Sign Stage on Tour
Hearts."                                                      company, which combines spoken
                                                              word and sign language into its
A wing of the Cleveland Sign Stage Theatre, the
troupe is a traveling children's theater company that simultaneously blends the
visual beauty of American Sign Language and spoken English.

Of the five cast members, two are deaf and three are hearing. The hearing actors
sign and talk at the same time, while the deaf actors sign and their dialogue is
voiced off stage.

"The rehearsal process is totally different," says Kamps, one of the hearing actors.
"It begins with translation, not blocking."

But for the deaf kids that come to their shows, it means finally watching something
in real time, without an interpreter delay.

"It's exciting because it's in their language. They can actually be involved because
they're looking at the action," says Diann Rockstrom, a teacher for the deaf at
Wilson Middle School and Eisenhower High School.

Nineteen deaf students — who attend Whitney Elementary School, Wilson or Ike —
joined fifth-graders from the Yakima School District for Tuesday's morning show. A
public performance was later that night.

"That's the neat thing about the show," says Elliott Challandes, marketing director
for the Allied Arts Council, which sponsored the performances. "You don't have to
be deaf or know sign language to enjoy the show.

"It's wild," he adds. "You forget the actor on stage is not speaking."

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According to Suzanne Noble, a certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter
and mental health therapist for Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health,
there are less than 100 culturally deaf people in Yakima County. That means they
speak ASL, which is different than being hard-of-hearing or speaking Signed Exact

"ASL is the key to being part of the deaf community," she says.

Signed Exact English is exactly that, a signed interpretation of English. But ASL is
more visually based with its own phrasing and sentence structure. For example,
instead of finger-spelling "carpet," you would sign "soft on the floor."

That is why Kamps says talking and signing at the same time is kind of like patting
your head and rubbing your belly.

This is the third Sign Stage show Allied Arts has brought to Yakima. Last year was
"Matilda" and the year before was "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

After the performances, the actors visit with the audience and answer questions.

"The conversations were literally flying," remembers Elizabeth Herres Miller,
executive director for Allied Arts.

And next year, the company will be back with "Beauty and the Beast."

Noble says it's worth the price of admission — for both the deaf and hearing — to
experience a dual-language show like this or a closed-captioned movie. Blindness
cuts people off from things, she says, but deafness cuts people off from people.

"Deaf people will embrace any effort you make at sign language or smile or gesture
at them," says Noble. "Smiling is the same in both languages."

That's echoed by Rockstrom, who says her students are involved in a hearing
person's day-to-day environment at school, but don't know the culture.

"These kids are still in their own world," she says.

And that makes hearing people curious. A deaf education teacher since 1976,
Rockstrom says she forgets the general public sometimes considers sign language
and its deaf users a bit peculiar.

"They think these guys are a novelty, but they're just people," she says.

Tuesday's shows gave hearing people a chance to watch sign language without,
well, staring at somebody else's conversation. And the deaf audience could enjoy a
show with no interpreters or delays — nothing lost in translation.

"When we're talking about breaking down barriers," says Miller, "you have to have
these kinds of experiences."
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February 7, 2005

Cleveland Signstage Theatre
8500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

Dear participants of the Cleveland Signstage theatre,
    All of us here at Inland Lakes would like to sincerely thank you for your time and efforts at your
performance of Robin Hood: Thief of hearts, February 3rd at the Cheboygan Opera house. We
enjoyed and appreciated your time spent introducing yourselves and answering our questions after the
performance. Enclosed is a series of pictures that we took at your performance for your enjoyment We
would like to request the autographs of all of the actors involved in the performance. Thank you so
much for your time and care spent for the advancement of the signing arts.

                                                   The staff and members of the Inland
                                                   Lakes Hearing Impaired Program

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From: "Patty Dominguez"
To: <jane@windwoodtheatricals.com>

Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 4:10 PM
Subject: Thank you


Please convey our thanks to the Cleveland Signstage Theatre's touring
company for their work on Saturday. We found them friendly and easy to
work with, professional and very talented. The rotating set and special
effects were a big hit!

When the play "Matilda" ended, our audiences wouldn't go home and with
no more than a word of encouragement, crowded the stage and surrounded
the actors to explore collapsing bookshelves, magnetic cups, get
programs signed and hang on every word given (both English and ASL).
Jesse, Ryan, Cindy, Kat and Rosie were gracious, open and generous with
their time. The students from the community college and adults seemed to
be as persistent as the children. We were thrilled to have reached
students from special language classes (both primary and college), home
schooled students, hearing impaired adults and even a Brownie Troop
working to fulfill a badge. Everything ran very smoothly under Eric's

Thank you again for helping us to provide fun and educational
entertainment to Henderson and the surrounding communities.

Patty Dominguez
Recreation Leader
City of Henderson, Parks and Recreation

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Acting in Silence
Show delights packed audience of people with and without impairment

By Shannon Barno
Lantern Staff Reporter
The applause was thunderous, but many in the audience never heard it.

The Cleveland Signstage Theatre this month performed Treasure Island at Kruger Auditorium.
Scores of children in the audience were hearing impaired.

The Calico Theatre performance was in sign language as well as spoken language. Some of the
actors were hearing impaired themselves, while others were not.

A deaf actor and a hearing actor founded Cleveland Signstage Theatre in 1975. Since then, they
have established and maintained a reputation for bringing to the stage a new expression in the
theatre. The mission of Cleveland Signstage Theatre is to produce extraordinary theatre that
brings deaf and hearing audiences together.

Treasure Island is about a young boy named Jim Hawkins who had always loved the sea and
dreamed of sailing and fighting pirates. When Captain Billy Bones enters an inn ran by his
mother, Jim’s dream turns into reality. The Captain is an old sea dog who has stolen Flint’s
treasure map from his former crew members. When Captain’s old crewmates come looking for
him, Billy gives the map to Jim for safekeeping. On board, Jim develops a friendship with Long
John Silver (Rolando Vazguez), but what Jim doesn’t know, is that Long John Silver is the new
captain of Flint’s old gang of pirates. Silver captures Jim and uses him as a bargaining tool for
getting the map from Doctor Livesay. Jim escapes and meets Ben Gunn. Ben Gunn was a
member of Flint’s gang but was left to die on the island after the treasure was buried. With
Ben’s help, Jim is able to defeat the pirates, save the day, and locate the treasure.

Actors who performed in Treasure Island included: Claudia Liolios as Black dog and Mrs.
Hawkins; Bill Morgan as Doctor Livesay; Erin La Fountain as Jim Hawkins; Josif Schneider as
the Squire; Rolando Vazquez as Long John Silver; Rachel Hollander as Billy Bones, Ben Gunn
and Israel Hands; and Jess Kamps as Captain Smollet.

Debbie Moffatt, Community Arts Director, said, “I’m really excited that we had the opportunity
to bring this kind of production to our area. I think it’s important for us to be aware of the
diversity that exists in the arts.”

Needless to say, Treasure Island proved to be a huge success. A total of 1,758 people attend all
five Signstage performances in the area, three of which were performed at Clermont College.
Along with the regular audience, students from St. Ritas School for the Deaf, Students in
American Sign Language (ASL) classes, and other hearing-impaired students from various
school districts attended the production.

Two shows were also performed at Loveland-Miami and Georgetown High School.
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  The Taste of Sunrise is like a
deceptively ingenuous American
Primitive painting come to life.
Playwright Suzan Zeder ellipsizes
the hard-fought passage from birth
to teen-age of a congenitally deaf
'20s farm boy by means of a
simple poetic artistry that evokes
the mystical richness of plain
words and sounds -and the sound
of words - as much as it catalogues
the burdens of the youngster's
silent world.
    Deprived of mother and
hearing by a scarlet fever                Director Steven C. Anderson has an       affecting in his agonized surrender
epidemic, Tuc grows into an               acute sense of the play's unadorned      of Tuc to distant schooling and in
environmental natural, nurtured           character and unhurried rhythms,         his death scene. As the native
by and at one with the elements           which only falters where the             healer, Janetta Davis suggests the
of his native land, streams,              writing occasionally diverges into       bitter reserve of an exploited loner
breezes and all God's fellow              byway’s of local color and               while movingly exposing the
creatures. He's further                   polemics rather than dramatic            despair at the loss of her child and
compensated with an                       progression, He's also drawn from        the compulsion to find a focus for
unconditionally loving father             his excellent cast taut, pertinent and   her abundant caring.          Tonya
                                                                                   Beckerman is a burst of attractive
with whom he communicates                 humanly involving performances
                                                                                   energy as Maisie, the dreamy,
intuitively and soundlessly               that integrate seamlessly into a
                                                                                   generous fallgirl, who will
through what his interior                 cohesive and quietly moving group
                                                                                   probably go giving her big open
narration tells us is “father talk.”      portrait.                                heart the wrong guy, and Mark
Society's            well-intentioned           Central to his depiction is
                                                                                   Ross neatly echoes Tuc's stages of
meddling, however, intrudes when          Michael J. Stark's thoroughly
                                                                                   aging as he supplies his voice.
the boy is enrolled in a special          engaging and unaffected realization          Most actors double in a variety
school        for       the       deaf.   of Tuc. As usual at Signstage, both      of roles, in which Lynn
Controversially it insists on             speech and         American       Sign
                                                                                   Liebermann is substantial as a
teaching vocalization and lip-            Language are used, with some
                                                                                   dedicated but unyielding teacher,
reading opposed to the more               actors providing voices for their
                                                                                   Ionia Zelenka creates a concerned
accessible sign language (which its       non-speaking colleagues. Though          bully of a friend and Raymond
students rebelliously employ in           nearly mute, Stark conveys the           Seal sparkles as a minor mischief-
secret as the readiest method of          boy's terror and tenderness, his         maker.
conversation). Wrenched from his          innate love of nature and his father,
                                                                                       Signstage has indicated it will
habitat and emotionally bewildered        his guileless youth and eventually,
                                                                                   increasingly focus on works with
by the school's insensitivity, Tuc is     his nascent sober maturing with a
                                                                                   themes specifically addressing
finally devastated by his father's        mobile and instinctive range of          issues pertinent to the deaf and
death. He flees to his home soil          expression and movement that             hearing-impaired. If the current
and into a mental isolation from          seems artless. The tallest figure on     success is any inkling, that sounds
which he is rescued by the care           stage, the actor completely -
                                                                                   promising indeed.
and wisdom of a maternal                  sublimates his adult presence as he
medicine woman and Maisie, a              progresses - without succumbing to
hearing friend from school with a         precious or cute tricks - on an
peck of empathy and troubles of           utterly believable child's journey
her own.                                  from eager wonder through
                                          inescapable pain, to the first
          Cleveland      Signstage        glimmers of manhood.            It's a
Theatre's   co-production     with        beguiling accomplishment
Columbus'            Contemporary             Jason Podplesky infuses the
American     Theatre     Company          father with a hardpan decency and
handles this fragile piece with a         strength matched by his uneffusive
persuasive delicacy and craft.            love for his son that’s especially
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Simple Approach makes this ‘Sunrise’ one to savor
“The Taste of Sunrise” opens         costumes establish the period              after his wife dies in the same
with the elements – wind,            and milieu.                                scarlet fever epidemic that
water, birds flying in the air –                                                makes baby Tuc deaf. As Tuc
all created for us by the supple                REVIEW                          grows, the two come to
poetry of actor Michael J.                     A Taste of Sunrise               understand each other: “Father
Stark’s hands and body.              Cleveland Signstage Theatre and the        talk has no need of words,” Tuc
    This simple lyricism persists    Contemporary American Theatre              says. Yet the promise of full
throughout Suzan Zeder’s play,       Company present a play in two acts by
                                     Suzan Zeder through March 28 in the
                                                                                communication            persuades
which tells the story of Tuc, a      Factory Theatre, Cleveland State           Jonas to send Tuc to a deaf
deaf boy growing up in the           University, E. 24th St. and Chester Ave.   school where students are
                                     Directed by Steven C. Anderson. Set,
rural Midwest in the 1920s,          Stephanie Gerckens; costumes, Barcy        taught to speak and read lips
who struggles to make sense of       Ford; lighting, Ryan Koharchik; sound,     and are not permitted to sign. It
his world in spite of the well-      stage manager, Jonathan Putnam             becomes torment for the boy,
                                     Tuc – Michael J. Stark
meant, but mostly wrongheaded        Jonas Tucker – Jason Podplesky             who learns to sign from other
hearing people around him.           Emma, nurse, student – Ionia Zelenka       students, recognizing it as the
                                     Nell Hicks – Janetta Davis
    This is a beautifully crafted    Dr. Alexis Graham – Lynn Liebermann
                                                                                truest way for him to express
production, moving and spare         Clovis, Dr. Mann – Mark Ross               himself.
as a ballad. It runs through         Maizie, Alma – Tonya Beckman                   Zeder’s play also explores
                                     Roscoe – Raymond Seal
March 28 in the Cleveland                                                       more generally how society
State      University     Factory                                               tries to deal with outsiders. The
Theatre and represents a                 A magical performance                  enigmatic Nell Hicks, played
collaboration            between                                                by lovely Janetta Davis, tends
Cleveland Signstage Theatre               The show’s real magic,                the sick with her herbs and
and       the      Contemporary      however, lies in Stark’s                   songs. She is ostracized by
American Theatre Company, a          performance as Tuc. Tall and               most people, but she becomes
small professional theater in        good-looking, he nevertheless              Tuc’s salvation. Maizie, the
Columbus where the show ran          transforms himself into the                hearing child of deaf parents,
last month.                          little boy who goes hunting for            also befriends Tu; but she is
    Columbus director Steven         honey with his father or lies in           torn between the two worlds.
C. Anderson keeps everything         the grass to watch the stars.              Tonya Beckman, with her
simple, so the focus remains on      Even at the end of the play,               blond curls and bright eyes, is a
the actors, who both speak and       when he has come closer to                 persuasively       reckless    and
sign. Although most of the           self-understanding, Tuc is still a         romantic       Maizie,      whose
excellent eight-member cast          child, nearing his teens. Stark            madcap pose covers her
plays multiple roles and signs       gives you a boy’s high spirits as          vulnerability. Zeder’s simple
for others who are speaking, the     well as his terror, magnified by           poetry gets a little hokey
process       never      becomes     his deafness, in a world where             sometimes, and the plot veers
confusing,        thanks       to    he cannot comprehend what is               toward the sentimental, but
Anderson’s clarity in staging.       happening.                                 Anderson’s’ lean direction and
Stephanie Gerckens’ set of                At the core of the play it            the       integrity      of    the
weathered-looking            gray    Tuc’s relationship with his                performances          keep     the
wooden platforms can become          father, Jonas Tucker, a decent,            production          from      easy
a field, a hilltop, a schoolroom     loving man ably played by                  sentimentality. It’s the best
or a hospital, and Barcy Ford’s      CATCO actor Jason Podplesky.               thing Signstage has presented
                                     Jonas has to raise his son alone           in some time.

                    The Publicity Contact for Windwood Theatricals is Jane Dudley.
              540-592-9573 (v)  540-592-9574 (f) Email: Jane@windwoodtheatricals.com
                            Visit our website at: www.windwoodtheatricals.com

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