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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Whispers of a Savage Sort: And Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience

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ELAINE: He was a lot bigger than that. He looked happy with his mother.
GRAHAM: That’s wonderful. Bruno?
BRUNO: My parents’ friends came over and we all had a great barbecue in the backyard. (Beat.) Everyone was deaf so
     I understood everyone.
GRAHAM: We all know you come from a deaf family.
BRUNO: That’s very important.
MICHAEL: You mean everyone talks the way you do?
BRUNO: Yeah. After two weeks here, you’re still snooty.
GRAHAM: Bruno. Some people are not as lucky as you. Do you understand?
BRUNO: Yeah.
GRAHAM: Thank you. Michael?
MICHAEL: I watched a movie last night.
GRAHAM: What was it called?
MICHAEL: The Man No One Knew. It was pretty good.
PHIL: Was it closed-captioned?
MICHAEL: No. But I could follow the story.
BRUNO: Liar. He’s just snooty.
GRAHAM: Bruno. (To MICHAEL.) He’ll learn.
BRUNO: Never!
GRAHAM: We should begin our first class now. Please open your history books to page 74.

[While OTHERS open the book and find the right page with GRAHAM checking to make sure everyone’s on the same page, GRAHAM turns to MICHAEL.]

GRAHAM: You can finish the next chapter in your book if you want.

[BRUNO intercepts GRAHAM on her way back to her desk.]

BRUNO: Why do you have to talk special to him? You treat him like he’s a genius.
GRAHAM: Well, some people are better at sports than others; it’s the same way with history. Michael happens to be
     very good with history.
BRUNO: But that doesn’t mean you have to talk to him real special-like.
GRAHAM: (Chooses to ignore BRUNO’s remark.) Could someone tell me why the 1920s was such an important
     time?
ANDREW: No one was allowed to drink beer.
GRAHAM: Very good, Andrew. (To PHIL.) Why did that happen, Phil?
PHIL: I dunno.

[BRUNO kicks PHIL from behind and signs “Stupid!” (on the forehead).]

GRAHAM: Andrew?
ANDREW: Some people thought drinking was bad.
GRAHAM: Elaine. What else happened at that time?
ELAINE: A lot of gangsters came to power. They ran a lot of speakeasies. They were like bars except they were hidden.
GRAHAM: Very good! And—

[Mr. COPP knocks on an imaginary door near them and hands GRAHAM a note; he exits. She reads the note, and then turns to OTHERS.]

GRAHAM: Excuse me, I have to go out in the hallway for a minute. I don’t want any horsing around, okay?

[OTHERS nod—but the second she and COPP go offstage, BRUNO runs to MICHAEL’s desk and grabs his textbook.]


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