Completing this film has taken years. Originally, the film was a documentary of Kent State University at Trumbull’s theatre production of Willy Conley’s For Every Man, Woman, and Child—a modern morality play inspired by EVERYMAN. The play was co-produced by Daniel-Raymond Nadon (Director), Nancy M. Resh (Sign Master), and Carol L. Robinson (Dramaturg) in October 2009. It was an exciting venture between both campus and community, as well as between hearing and Deaf worlds: accessible to both Deaf and hearing audiences through a mixture of ASL, spoken English, gesture and mime. The play is a contemporary written English adaptation of the medieval (late Middle English) British medieval morality play, Everyman. The play was performed by students and members of the surrounding community—some Deaf, some deaf, some hard-of-hearing, some hearing. Regardless of hearing ability, some used American Sign Language as their primary language while others preferred spoken English. Not only was the play performed at Kent Trumbull Theatre, but it was also transported (props and over twenty members of cast and crew) to Siena College (near Albany, New York) for the Annual International Conference on Medievalism. After the show closed, all three producers (Daniel-Raymond, Carol, and Nancy) worked to compose and publish articles and book chapters that drew from this experience. Additionally Carol and Nancy began working on the film together. Then, Nancy unexpectedly passed away (November, 2010). Daniel-Raymond and Carol had to re-group to finish work on presentations and articles, and Carol had to set out to finish the film alone. The film was initially completed in 2012, after a peer-review at the University Film and Video Association Conference in 2011.
However, Carol was still unhappy with it, and then, eventually, she got the idea of combining this documentary with the next documentary, scheduled to be about the next Kent Trumbull Theatre production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Before she died, Nancy had been discussing the possibility of Iosif Schneiderman directing this play, which he co-adapted with Aaron Weir and William Morgan. Carol and Daniel-Raymond decided to honor Nancy’s wish, and worked with Gary Ciuba and Verne Taylor, Jr. to fund and produce this play in 2013. Once again, it was a venture between campus and community, between Deaf and hearing cultures. However, this time, the play involved several children. The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy the production experience, but this was not so among the adults. While the children eagerly learned their lines — some in spoken English, others in American Sign Language— and gleefully performed in their long beards, the adults were making accusations of audism and sexism in a bitter conflict brewed among the adults to the point at which the show was almost cancelled. But, the adults knew that the show must go on, and (like the children actors) the audience was blissfully unaware of the backstage battles.
Carol also worked with several former cast members of the Everyman play adaptation production (who also happened to be current and former students) to conduct interviews that will be used both in the film and as supplements for educational purposes. This included a road-trip to Gallaudet University. This project, in other words, has grown to become so much more than just a film about a play production!