Deaf/Hearing Company Gathers for First Meeting at Fountain
They came from all over the world. And yesterday met face-to-face for the first time at the Fountain. The large company of artists and production team members for Cyrano gathered for their first rehearsal together, sitting at a long common table, energy and spirits high. A kinetic mix of veteran deaf and hearing actors, fresh new faces, old friends, those familiar with the deaf/hearing process of creating theatre, others new and wide-eyed.
Under the leadership of director Simon Levy, the first afternoon was dedicated to getting to know each other, completing paperwork, discussing the exciting new project, and creating trust and comfort in what Levy calls “the sacred circle” of the company.
ASL Interpreter Elizabeth Greene facilitated communication between the deaf and hearing company members. Fountain Producing Artistic Director Deborah Lawlor welcomed the group, pointing out that Deaf West was first launched at the Fountain back in 1991. Newly appointed Deaf West Artistic Director David Kurs acknowledged his company’s historic legacy of achievement and expressed his excitement about leading DWT into the next phase of new growth and development. Playwright Stephen Sachs spoke briefly about some of the deeper themes of his new play. Actors Troy Kotsur and Paul Raci discussed the unique partnership between deaf and hearing actors, as the hearing actor “voices” what the deaf signs.
The world premiere of Cyrano is a modern day reimagined deaf/hearing version of the classic “Cyrano de Bergerac”. The setting is present day. Cyrano is a brilliant deaf poet in a modern day city. He is hopelessly in love with a beautiful hearing woman, Roxy. But she doesn’t understand sign language and instead loves his hearing brother, Chris. Can Cyrano express his love for Roxy with his hands? Or must he teach Chris to “speak his words” for him, to woo her? ASL becomes the language of love in this modern sign language spin on a classic love story.
Also at the first rehearsal were producer Laura Hill, stage manager Susan Karutz, assistant stage manager Terri Roberts, publicist Lucy Pollak, and ASL master Ty Giordano.
The co-production between the Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre features Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci, Bob Hiltermann, Erinn Anova, Eddie Buck, Maleni Chaitoo, Daniel Durant, Ipek Mehlum, James Babbin, Al Bernstein, Martica de Cardenas, Victor Warren, and James Royce Edwards.