Friday, November 21, 2003
Unity in Diversity
Two Cultures Join Together to Produce Their
West Side Story
When the classic American musical West Side Story was staged in 1957, its
creators reshaped Romeo and Juliet to feature the love between a Polish
American boy born in New York and a girl newly arrived from Puerto Rico—set against the backdrop of clashing street gangs on
the city’s west side. Some 40 years later, no one could have imagined that the same model could be effectively portrayed
by members of two other cultures—deaf and hearing students.
In Deaf Side
Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets, and a Classic American Musical, author
Mark Rigney chronicles the efforts of Diane Brewer, the new drama head at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL, to produce West Side
Story, casting deaf and hearing students in all of the parts and challenging
them to learn song, sign,
and dance. The college hearing students learned to be the Jets, and the deaf
students from the nearby Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) became the Sharks.
Instead of allowing the play to symbolize any illusory conflict between the Deaf
and hearing communities, however, these young players used it as an
opportunity to show how well they could work together, with great effect.
learn more about how these two vastly different worlds blended to perform a classic American art form brilliantly together.
Side Story today and take advantage of your exclusive subscriber 20%
a publication of The University of Nebraska, recognized
Silence: A Deaf Boy in the Holocaust with a listing in its summer
2003 issue. Izrael Zachariah Deutsch, who later changed his name to Harry Imre
Dunai, was born in Komjata, Czechoslovakia,
in 1934. During World War II,
nine-year-old Izrael found himself doubly at risk for being deaf and Jewish. His
resolve to survive is apparent in his account of living in the Klauzal
Square ghetto of Budapest, where he and other victims had been herded by the
Arrow Cross fascists.
Silence is Eleanor C. Dunai’s revelation of her father’s
remarkable ingenuity in surviving the Holocaust
and eventually finding his way to America.
about the struggles and triumphs of Harry Imre Dunai in chapter eight,
“The Central Ghetto and the
order Surviving in Silence now.
Gallaudet University Press Institute,
the educational division of Gallaudet University
Press, announces the Second International Deaf Academics and
Researchers Conference. Scheduled for February 19-21, 2004 in the Kellogg
Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University located on the university campus, this seminal conference will bring together the best deaf academics
and researchers to discuss common issues, to share experiences in academia and
in research, to present current research toward opening the door to potential
collaboration and new research partnerships; and to discuss the emerging role of
deaf academics and researchers in relation to the Deaf community. Keynote
presenters include Dr. Harry G. Lang, Professor, Department of
Research at the
National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York, and author of
A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf
Insurrection Against Ma Bell; and Helga Stevens, Director, European Union of
the Deaf, and a member of the European Disability Forum’s Commission on the
Information Society. For more information on the conference and to register, go
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