This is the story of how various members of the campus and surrounding community of Kent State University at Trumbull (some deaf, some hearing, some fluent in American Sign Language, some signing impaired) gathered together to produce a play that was communicated in both spoken English and American Sign Language, at the same time. They did this four times. The first time (2009) was a production of Willy Conley’s play, For Every Man, Woman, and child—a modern morality play inspired by EVERYMAN. The second time (2013) was a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (adapted by Iosif Schneiderman, Aaron Weir, and William Morgan). The third time (2017) was an ensemble created adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story, entitled ANOTHER Christmas Carol. The fourth time (2019) featured Guest Artist James “Joey” Caverly, who co-authored the script with Ammauri Peters and directed the play, See No Beast, Hear No Beast, Speak No Beast.
In addition to the usual challenges of preparing for performances (as well as several personal issues, such as illnesses and family deaths), the cast and crew were also confronted by the large obstacle of a communication battleground. Indeed, during each production process, there were moments when people were ready to “get medieval” on each other, but they worked to overcome this and other obstacles because they knew, each time, that the show must go on.