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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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[BIG CHEESE puts his hands in his pocket to pull out some change. He looks at MIGHTY MOUSE and gestures if he should give a coin to the audience member. MIGHTY MOUSE nods yes. He gives the audience member a penny.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: You gave only one cent? You’re cheap!
BIG CHEESE: I’m not rich!
MIGHTY MOUSE: You have a pile of money in your pocket.
BIG CHEESE: I do not.
BIG CHEESE: I got bad service from that kid anyway.
MIGHTY MOUSE: Get outta here.
BIG CHEESE: You see the rough way he gave me back my Shakespeare poster?
QUEEN BEE: Oh that kid gave it to you nice and gently.
SWEET CORN: Such a sweet kid.
BLUE J: Yeah, that’s a good kid. Hey, want some of my sunflower seeds? Here. (Throws a handful on the floor.)

[WATERCOLOR gets everyone’s attention with her brushing movements. She calls over MIGHTY MOUSE and quickly writes and draws on MIGHTY MOUSE’s back as one way to communicate ideas to the group.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: Watercolor wants to say something to Big Cheese . . . Shakespeare wasn’t always serious. He wrote a lot of comedy too. Lots of fun and play.

[All get the idea to demonstrate some comedy to BIG CHEESE. In the manner of The Three Stooges, MIGHTY MOUSE punches BLUE J in the stomach, hits him on the head, and kicks him to QUEEN BEE who stomps on his feet. Next, WATERCOLOR makes his head turn up and down and back and forth with her paintbrush, and then she slaps him across the face with the paintbrush into SWEET CORN’s arms. She cradles and comforts him in her arms.]

SWEET CORN: Blue J, you’re cute, but I like Shakespeare better. (She drops him. All look at BIG CHEESE.)
ALL (except BIG CHEESE): You see?
BIG CHEESE: I don’t think that’s funny. Looks violent to me.
BLUE J: It’s not real.
SWEET CORN: It’s pretending.
QUEEN BEE: We’re making it up.

[WATERCOLOR gestures “playing” with her paintbrush.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: (Referring to WATERCOLOR.) It’s playing.

[QUEEN BEE and BLUE J do a quick demonstration of faking a violent movement.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: Understand?
BIG CHEESE: Still looks violent to me.

[WATERCOLOR motions MIGHTY MOUSE over and draws on her back.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: Watercolor says, “Remember Shakespeare’s famous quote— (Loud, microphoned Shakespearean voice overhead.) ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men . . . and women merely players.’”
SWEET CORN: Wow! Watercolor is smarter than Blue J.
BIG CHEESE: Did you hear that?
QUEEN BEE: Hear that?? What’s the matter with you? You’re deaf! How can you hear that?
BIG CHEESE: You’re deaf too!
QUEEN BEE: Soooo? (Points to BLUE J.) He’s deaf too!

[The rest of the characters point to one another in quick succession.]

BLUE J: (Points to SWEET CORN.) She’s deaf too!
SWEET CORN: (Points to MIGHTY MOUSE.) She’s deaf too!

[WATERCOLOR gestures “I’m deaf too!”]

BIG CHEESE: All right, all right, all right . . . Did you feeeeeeel that? (To MIGHTY MOUSE.) Mighty Mouse—sign that again.

[All except MIGHTY MOUSE gesture “wait” as they scramble into position on the ground to get ready to feel the coming vibrations. This should look comical as each has his or her own way of sensing vibrations (through the nose, a toe, a finger, a tongue, whatever).]

MIGHTY MOUSE: All the world’s a stage, and all of the men and women are merely players.

[All gesture excitedly that they felt something.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: All the world’s a stage . . . (Enjoying this; finding a rap-like rhythm.) all the world’s a stage . . . all the world’s a stage . . . all of the men . . . all of the women . . . all of the men . . . all of the women . . . merely players . . . merely players. (Etc., etc., to be improvised.)

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