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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 goes to help WATERCOLOR.]

SWEET CORN: (With a Hollywood attitude.) Verrry interesting choices.
BLUE J: (Hollywood attitude.) Why?
QUEEN BEE: Yeah, why?? I’m the queen, I can’t be a turtle.
MIGHTY MOUSE: Why not? I’m the director. We’re playing remember?
SWEET CORN: Okay! So, what do we do now?
MIGHTY MOUSE: We should set up a starting line. A road for the race. Maybe some trees and bushes along the way. A finish line. I want the actors to play hard, to . . . umm . . .
BIG CHEESE and WATERCOLOR: (Subtly interrupting.) What should we name our play group?
MIGHTY MOUSE: . . . play serious.
BIG CHEESE and WATERCOLOR: Play Serious? Interesting name.

[WATERCOLOR walks back to the curtains and paints the words PLAY SERIOUS in view of the audience. This should be done quick and dirty like a child. The letter S should be painted backwards.]

MIGHTY MOUSE: What did they ask me?
BLUE J: I don’t know.
SWEET CORN: Something about a name for our group.
MIGHTY MOUSE: A name for our group?

[BIG CHEESE pokes his head between the curtains again. WATERCOLOR accidentally paints across his forehead while painting the group’s name along with the proverbial masks of comedy and tragedy.]

BIG CHEESE: Excuse me . . . do you mind if we move the clothesline back? We need to set up the road and other things here.

[The clothesline gets moved upstage. A pile of props and costumes are seen center stage. We see that QUEEN BEE is about to put on a baseball catcher’s chest protector. The group reacts excitedly with this object choice for a turtle’s underbelly. Everybody helps find more objects for her. They tie a wok onto her back. Someone buffs the wok. Another person puts potholder mittens over her hands. In a daze, she sees herself transformed. She exits behind the clothesline curtains.
     MIGHTY MOUSE directs the setting up of props and costumes. Next, everyone squeezes a couple of neckties over BIG CHEESE’s head. It should be a huge struggle, and, when it is over, he springs forward with floppy ears. Someone stuffs a large fluffy object on his butt for a tail. He exits behind the clothesline curtains. Everyone else grabs some props and exit.
     WATERCOLOR is the last one on stage who has not figured out what animal to be. Instead, she uses her props to make herself a sophisticated lady who opens the curtains. WATERCOLOR exits behind one of the curtains.
     One by one the troupe enters as animals, with the turtle being first and the rabbit being last. They go into a wild and wacky, nonverbal performance of The Tortoise and the Hare. Besides (or instead of) being a foot race, this may be a fingerspelling alphabet race. This should be done with sound effects and painting (a map of the race showing the progress of the runners or a racetrack—this is wide open and left up to the director and painter).]

BIG CHEESE: I enjoyed that. Now I really understand what you mean by playing. (Signs as in “playing around.”)
SWEET CORN: See? All this time you thought a play had to be serious, right?
BIG CHEESE: Yeah, but I’m curious . . . what was the point of “The Tortoise and the Hare” play?
WATERCOLOR: (Gesturing with paintbrush; Mighty Mouse translates.) The point was if you work slow and steady, and not brag about how good you are, you will “win the race”—you will get your goal. That can relate to anything in your life.
QUEEN BEE: We should do another play!
ALL: YEAH (Etc.)!!

[WATERCOLOR gestures that she has one.]

BIG CHEESE: You?

[WATERCOLOR gestures, “What do you mean you”?]

MIGHTY MOUSE: What do you mean “you?” You don’t think girls can write plays? Huh?
BIG CHEESE: Well, no, I didn’t mean that. I just meant that I’m, I’m surprised that Watercolor created a play.
SWEET CORN: What’s the play about?

[Group forms a huddle. It should be fun and playful to watch this as WATERCOLOR explains her play.]


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