MELISSA: Tonight is the night! Remember earlier, we showed Karla having a sneak peek into the cast rehearsals on Deaf West’s “Our Town”? They’ve been rehearsing since then, and finally the time for opening night has come! Tru biz. I can feel the energy here tonight, everyone’s looking forward to seeing the play!
Actors on stage:
The name of the town is Grover’s Corners New Hampshire, just across the state line. A latitude 42 degrees, 40 minutes. Longitude 70 degrees, 37 minutes.
And it ain’t even the stars…
It’s straining all the time trying to make something of itself. And that strain is so bad that every 16 hours everybody lies down and gets rest.
DANIEL: All of the actors don’t have any props with them while they perform. There’s three acts in this one, a bit unusual, having a third act as opposed to just two. Overall, I thought it was beautifully put together via movement and lighting, and was touched at the very end.
CAMRYN: It’s amazing. You must go see it. It’s about life, all the things we missed when we were alive, love, and death. It’s all put together in one story, it’s so beautiful. Come, support Deaf theater.
WAYNE: This play, wow. I’ve watched a lot of Deaf West productions, and this one stands out the most. This is the most challenging one. There’s no characters, it’s got a simple conflict. It’s a large concept with complexities within, with all the translations. I enjoyed watching one act after another, and I got a bit more each time, and this became an emotional experience. I thought it was intriguing. I look forward to seeing how this evolves.
MELISSA: Congratulations on your first opening night. How do you feel?
HAROLD: Wow. Wow. This is the biggest thing that’s happened for me. My first production. Most know me from standup comedy, but with this amazing cast-- five weeks of hard labor, reviewing, blocking, putting it together, just wow. I am blessed to be a part of this. Wow.
MELISSA: You read my mind. I was just about to ask how you felt coming from stand up comedy to playing a serious role. Do you feel it’s different, or do you feel it used your acting skills? Mind expanding on that?
HAROLD: In a way, it’s gotten me out of my comfort zone. You know, going from comedy into a realm of serious drama and professionalism. This has always been my passion, since day one. Now I’m here, and I’m learning from vets, like Russell, Alexandria, Troy. I learned from them. And now I’m trying it on, and I hope to be involved in more productions. I look forward to that.
MELISSA: I know we will definitely see more of him!
MELISSA: How do you feel right now? After this opening night?
NATASHA: I’m in awe. I feel like, WOW, you know? I’m all emotional inside, and I’m happy, and… this has been an awesome experience for me. I really love this town, and the people, the cast, the crew… the director, *takes deep breath*
MELISSA: What’s your perspective on the message behind this play?
NATASHA: I think today we live in a time where we’re focused on phones, where there’s no communication, no eye contact, no sense of community, so this town- Our Town shares the message of being connected together with people face to face, empathy, compassion, and just communicating with each other with open arms.
SANDRA: This tells the story how people with lost friends, family, life-- and people don’t pay attention, they’re engrossed in their devices, and are worried about their work.. And just stop and just say hi for once, talk with them. Give compliments on their clothes, and just talk. And that’s gone. So I think that scene, that story, the message, just caused my emotions to take over.
MELISSA: How do you feel right now?
ALEXANDRIA: I feel amazing. I feel relieved, I feel exhausted, I feel celebratory, and I feel ready to take a nap.
ALEXANDRIA: I feel amazing. I feel very proud of us and this.
MELISSA: I don’t think you can nap for a while.
ALEXANDRIA: No, that’s fine. I’ll just take every opportunity as long as I’m alive, every minute, I’ll just take it all in. Celebrate with all these beautiful people.
JANE: You know I have to say when we started this, I walked in, I saw this one [points off camera] DJ, I saw Charles, and, and Russell and Troy and all of ‘em and I thought, oh my gosh. They- they don’t under- they don’t, hear me. How is this gonna work out? And it was that miracle of, of...of desire and friendship that I feel so close and um, I love those people so- I love them, and I would love to work with Deaf West again. If it’s ever possible.
MELISSA: You just have to embrace that experience.
MELISSA: I’m curious-- what was it like to speak for someone who signed?
SHARON: I feel so… grateful, because Sandra, she’s an amazing actress, I learned from just watching her. I learned from voicing for her, because with myself, I have ideas how I would do the character myself, but with Sandra, I felt like it added to it, and I learned, so at the same time, I don’t feel that many actors have that opportunity to really watch another actor, to match that certain energy. That also helped me with empathy. To really open my heart and my mind to one another, to connect with her. So egos and all that are thrown out of the window. So that was good, I felt like it was an honor for me to really voice for her.
MELISSA: First time acting?
MARCO: Oh yeah, sure! I was like sure, when they invited me to Deaf West Theatre, and I was so thrilled to be involved. It’s a great opportunity for me. I felt like, I was a little nervous at first, but once I got involved, I got used to it. It was loads of fun, and I was able to make new friends. I can’t tell you how happy I am they gave me this opportunity to perform. Thank you, God!
MELISSA: What was your experience like learning to sign on stage for the first time? What was going on inside your head?
DOT: I was thinking, God I hope I don’t screw up. [laughter] I hope I don’t forget!
DOT: But, I think...I just wanted to do justice to everything I do that’s what I always want to do. I’m very proud of my work, and I’m so proud of this play and this cast, it’s...it’s a family.
MELISSA: I finished watching the entire play and wow. And it’s about a community united, both deaf and hearing people coming together. And I can see that already happening right now. After the play, both hearing and deaf people mixing it up and sharing their thoughts about the play. It’s a powerful thing. Hope you enjoyed the different insights from the cast. The play will keep going until near end of October, go watch it!