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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays
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BLUE J: That’s Watercolor. (Big signs.) I’m Blue J. (Does a tap move or whatever.)
MIGHTY MOUSE: (Does a quick African-American jig [or whatever] and tries to outdo BLUE J.) I’m Mighty Mouse.
SWEET CORN: (Does a ballet move [or whatever] and tries to outdo MIGHTY MOUSE.) I’m Sweet Corn.
QUEEN BEE: And I am . . . (Not sure what to do—a little stage fright; gets a movement idea at the last minute.) QUEEN BEE!
BIG CHEESE: Much better, but all of you are playing around . . . you’re not serious. We have an audience out here.
MIGHTY MOUSE: We’re playing? I thought we were acting.
ALL (except BIG CHEESE): Yeah, I was acting. Me too! (Ad lib.)
BIG CHEESE: (To the audience.) What do you people think? Were they playing? (Expected audience response would be yes; if no one responds, pretend that someone did say yes.) See! I told you! We should act seriously.
QUEEN BEE: Act seriously?
ALL (except BIG CHEESE): Serious? Act serious? How?
BIG CHEESE: Like this . . . (Gestures to the other actors to move out of the way; demonstrates in a serious, clumsy, and overdramatic way; the others try to stifle their laughter as he says his speech.) “To be, or not to be, that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.” (The group stifles laughter at BIG CHEESE’s seriousness.)
QUEEN BEE: What was that?
BIG CHEESE: (Proudly fingerspells.) S-H-A-K-E-S-P-E-A-R-E. (Signs.) Shakespeare. One of the world’s greatest writers of plays.
SWEET CORN: Oh, what was his sign name again?
BIG CHEESE: shakespeare. shake. speare. shake-speare. Get it? (No one gets it. He raises his leg.) Grab my leg. (No response.) Here—grab my leg.
SWEET CORN: That’s not a very nice thing to say to a lady.
BIG CHEESE: Queen Bee—come here and grab my leg.
QUEEN BEE: No, I’m a Queen—I don’t lower myself to do things like that.
BIG CHEESE: Mighty Mouse—help me.
MIGHTY MOUSE: (Sticking a finger in a jar of peanut butter tied around the waist.) I’m eating.
BIG CHEESE: Watercolor! Hey, Watercolor! Grab my leg. (WATERCOLOR is painting in the air with a paintbrush.)
SWEET CORN: Shh! She’s busy painting.
BIG CHEESE: Painting what? Nothing there!
SWEET CORN: She’s working on new ideas. Saves paper.
BIG CHEESE: Blue J! Get over here. Hold up my leg. See a roll of paper in there? See it?
BLUE J: I don’t like looking up people’s pants.
BIG CHEESE: Pull the paper out. I can’t reach it.

[BLUE J pulls an unusually long, rolled-up poster out of BIG CHEESE’s pant leg.]

SWEET CORN: That’s why he always walks around so stiff.
BLUE J: What do you carry that around for?
BIG CHEESE: It’s my picture of Shakespeare. My hero!
BLUE J: What’s up with him?
BIG CHEESE: Hold this end.

[BIG CHEESE and BLUE J unroll the poster. The others watch.]

QUEEN BEE: Who’s that?
BIG CHEESE: Shakespeare! You would love him. He used to write plays and perform for a queen like you—the Queen of England.
QUEEN BEE: He wrote for the rock band Queen??
BIG CHEESE: Stone band? Huh!?
SWEET CORN: No, silly you! Not rock like a stone, rock like rock-n-roll!!
BIG CHEESE: No, no, no. You’re both wrong. Shakespeare died over 300 years ago.
BLUE J: Hey—what are you carrying around a picture of a dead man for?
QUEEN BEE: Yeah, that’s kinda creepy.
SWEET CORN: Does he have a girlfriend? He’s cute. Long hair. An earring.
QUEEN BEE: YUCK! He’s bald.
SWEET CORN: I bet he’s really cool.
QUEEN BEE: (Sing-song/sign-song.) Sweet Corn loves Shakespeare. Sweet Corn loves Shakespeare. Sweet Corn loves—
SWEET CORN: Well . . . if you’re a queen, where’s your king? Don’t have a king, do you? You are a Queen Bee. No king?? A queen bee—bzzzzzzz (Shows a flying bee stinging QUEEN BEE’S butt.)
BIG CHEESE: (Lets go of the poster, which rolls up in BLUE J’s hands.) Will you stop it! Shakespeare is dead. Shakespeare—
BLUE J: (Signs Shakespeare’s name with the poster in his hand.) shakespeare! I got it, I got it, I got it! Let me explain. Watch me guys.
SWEET CORN: Blue J’s smart. Watch.
BLUE J: I have a spear in my hand. Right? I’m going to shake it. See? I put SHAKE and SPEAR together. What do I have? SHAKESPEARE! (The poster flies out of his hands and into the audience. Silence.)
BIG CHEESE: MY POSTER! Please! Give me my poster back. Pleaassse?

[Hopefully an audience member will return the poster to BIG CHEESE, who takes it and returns to the group.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: You’re not going to say thank you?
BIG CHEESE: Oh sorry. Thank you.
MIGHTY MOUSE: Not to me, you pea brain. To the person who handed you the poster.
BIG CHEESE: Oh! (To the audience member.) Thank you.
MIGHTY MOUSE: Is that all? You should give a tip.
BIG CHEESE: A tip? What’s that?
MIGHTY MOUSE: A little money. Like in a restaurant. You pay the waiter some money as a way of expressing thanks for good service.

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