The Fountain Theatre and Deaf West Theatre present the world premiere of a fresh modern day classic romance, a re-imagined signed/spoken version of Cyrano de Bergerac. Cyrano, written by Fountain Theatre co-artistic director Stephen Sachs (Bakersfield Mist) and directed by Simon Levy, opens at The Fountain Theatre on April 28, 2012 and performs through July 8.
“In Sachs’ funny, romantic and imaginative new adaptation, Cyrano is a brilliant deaf poet hopelessly in love with Roxy, a beautiful hearing woman. But she doesn’t understand sign language and instead loves Chris, his hearing brother. Can Cyrano express his love to Roxy with his hands? Or must he teach Chris to woo her, to ‘speak his words’ for him? ASL (American Sign Language) becomes the language of love in this new spin on a classic love story.”
“In the original classic, Cyrano feels self-conscious and over-glorifies his enormous nose, but in this modern deaf version, it’s his hands that are the focus,” explains Sachs. “Cyrano’s deafness is channeled through his hands, which swirl and soar to express the most complex human concepts, his inner-most thoughts and feelings, through the beauty of sign language.”
“It’s a mythic story about our hunger for love, the pangs for it,” says Levy. “But the deeper theme is how we communicate with one another. Stephen has written a beautiful adaptation that’s contemporary and fresh, set in a modern city where people communicate via text, Facebook and Twitter. It’s a world of iPhones, Blackberries and tablets. The production marries three forms of communication: ASL, English, and e-language.”
American Sign Language (ASL) is not English, but a unique language unto itself with its own syntax, sentence structure, slang, humor, subtlety and complexity. ASL masters Tyrone Giordano and Shoshannah Stern worked with the deaf actors to translate the script into ASL, and director Levy worked with ASL interpreters in rehearsals.
Fight choreographers Brian Danner and Abby Walla not only created a fight scene between actors Troy Kotsur (Cyrano) and James Royce Edwards, but incorporated the simultaneous sign language with the help of Giordano, Stern and Levy.
“Deaf West is the only established theater company in the U.S. that regularly stages new works featuring deaf actors,” notes newly appointed Deaf West Theatre artistic director David Kurs. “Deaf actors from all over the country and the world were anxious to participate.”
For more information: http://www.fountaintheatre.com
Article continued in Part II.
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