In our upcoming new signed/spoken version of Cyrano, the main character is a modern-day brilliant deaf poet in love with a hearing woman. In an early scene in the new play, Cyrano is challenged to a fight in a cafe by a bullying hearing man who violently threatens to teach Cyrano a lesson. Instead, our hero turns the tables on the attacker, expertly sparring with the rowdy thug and knocking him unconscious — all the while, creating and signing an ASL poem at the same time!
CYRANO: Your challenge to fight is accepted. And to keep myself interested, I’ll write a poem as we scuffle.
MAN: A poem?
CYRANO: Surprised? A deaf poet? Didn’t you see the movie, “Deaf Poet’s Society”? Yes. A poem. In American Sign Language. Visual. Not written. It cannot be held on paper. It lives in the air. Composed and expressed aloft, in three dimensions. Vivid. Bold. And when my poem ends, so will you.
MAN : Is that right?
CYRANO: Yes. That is right.
It’s the job of Fight Directors Brian Danner and Abby Walla to not only create the fight work with actors Troy Kotsur (Cyrano) and James Royce Edwards (Man), but to also incorporate the simultaneous sign language with ASL Masters Tyrone Giordano and Shoshannah Stern and director Simon Levy.