ORIGINAL PERFORMANCE DATES (2017)
Kent State Trumbull Theatre
December 1 & 2, 8:00pm & December 3, 3:00pm
December 8 & 9, 8:00pm & December 10, 3:00pm
About this Play and Production
For each scene, the signers are always performing toward downstage and the speakers are always in the “radio station” sides of the stage, (each side of the stage). Time is being represented by space, mimicking time representation in American Sign Language. In other words, the stage represents a human body. Upstage (the far back) represents the past, just as leaning backwards when signing in American Sign Language (ASL) represents the past. Likewise, standing straight in ASL represents current time, and center stage also represents current time. Finally both downstage and the audience area represent the future, just as leaning forward when signing in ASL represents the future. Welcome to Def world symbolism! There is other symbolism as well. Images projected inside the giant wreath represent Scrooge’s mind: his thoughts, his dreams, his memories, his nightmares. The boxes of Gizmos represent Scrooge’s guilty conscience. Most of the action on stage right (the left side, if you are facing the stage from the audience) represents the dream world, the spirit world. Most of the action on the other side of the stage (near the door and counter) represents the real world, here in 21st-century Northeast Ohio.
Charles Dickens’ wonderful novel, A Christmas Carol, is not at all the first Christmas ghost story. For example, another great class is the medieval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a story that begins in King Arthur’s court, where he his hosting a Christmas feast, when a green knight enters the hall with the challenge for some brave knight to chop off his head. While Christmas is a Christian holiday that was created in the Middle Ages, it was a feast intended to replace celebrations associated with the Winter Solstice. It’s a party! Wealthier medieval Christian kings gave out gifts (as they did at most big feasts of the year). The Christmas tree and many other contemporary symbols of Christmas are are taken from older, non-Christian religious systems. By the way, a carol is a religious folk song or popular hymn, particularly one associated with Christmas; to go caroling is to go singing, particularly Christmas songs. Some songs are beautiful, while others are deeply disturbing, and still others are simple silly fun. Charles Dickens’ wonderful ghost story is a “song” that is full of British 19th-century values.
This play is loosely based upon the Charles Dickens’ classic. In fact, many of the characters’ names have been changed, to note just how loose this adaptation truly is. Charles Dickens wrote a wonderful ghost story full of Victorian Christian ethos and humanism. This play, however, is ANOTHER ghost story, ANOTHER Christmas Carol, set in 21st-century United States (Northeast Ohio, even), attempting embrace an ethos that recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion. It attempts to embrace, for example, the Articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as developed by founding members of the United Nations. Ebenezer Scrooge is an Ohioan in 2017, running a store that has been highly successful in selling Gizmos. (We have no idea what Gizmos are, but they have made him very rich.)
This play was a joint Deaf/hearing production. The intended audience was both hearing and Deaf: those who were signing-impaired were able to follow the play through the speakers’ performance and those who were hearing-impaired were able to follow the play through the signers’ performance. Everyone had a voice, be it signed or spoken. It might be best to think of the speakers as performing something akin to a radio play, while the signers were performing something akin to a dance. Speakers also provided additional sound effects (with their throats and mouths, but also with various types of musical instruments and other tools). Signers also provided additional visual effects (such as with led-gloves and flags or streamers, but also with dance and pantomime).
From the Production Program
This show started out as a very small idea: to gather together a few Deaf and hearing individuals and put on a very small, almost informal, performance for the holidays: a group storytelling of sorts. But then, like Grinch’s heart (yes I know, wrong story), it grew and grew until it became three times its normal size: a full length, original play that includes all sorts of audio-visual expressions. I especially wish to thank Farah Kish-Leland and Lauren Albaugh for taking the lead in creating the four gesture songs, for helping the actors to transcribe the script from English to ASL, for their numerous creative ideas and other insightful contributions, and for their wonderful support in this venture. However, we three were not at all the only creators of this show, not at all! Composed by the cast and directors, in both English and American Sign Language, this show belongs to everyone involved—cast and crew, Deaf and hearing—we all made this Charles Dickens story into something new and different, yet still slightly familiar. Often, understanding each other was a challenge, but not insurmountable (some of us are signing impaired; some of us are Deaf). It has been a lot of work, and everyone worked a lot. This has been an awesome cast and crew, and I am deeply honored to have had this opportunity to learn so much from them. No matter the end result, this experience has demonstrated just how kind the human heart can be, just how creatively the human mind can flow, and just how high the human spirit can soar.
Carol L. Robinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Assistant Director/Sign Master’s Notes
I am very honored and proud to be a part of such a talented group of people. Our production makes me proud to see hearing and deaf people working together towards the same goal, lending all the best from hearing and deaf cultures. I can’t say enough about how honored I am that Dr. Carol Robinson asked me to work with her on this project. She has guided me and taught me a great deal. This has truly been an enriching experience.
American Sign Language Instructor
Assistant Signmaster/Assistant Videographer’s Notes
Being an Assistnt Sign Master has been a wonderful experience. I have been deeply driven to improve my knowledge in translating English to ASL while looking to gain experience in the theatre and stage. I was very thrilled to be a part of this production of ANOTHER Christmas Carol. I have been enjoying it so much. Additionally, while I was hesitant at first to accept the additional role as a cast member in the performance, due to lack of time, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made, a great opportunity to gain experience in using ASL in a theatre setting. I am deeply honored to have worked with such wonderful people.
Being an Assistant Videographer is helping me to learn something that is possibly related to my future graduate work in education. It has been a good way to start gaining the experience and building my porfolio. I am looking forward to playing around with the camera more, in the future.
American Sign Language Instructor
KSU at Trumbull Nursing Program
Dr. Carol Robinson’s Senior Seminar on Deaf Culture students
Kent Trumbull Diversity in Action Council
Hugh A. Glauser School of Music
Dr. Lance Grahn
Dr. Daniel Palmer
Harry Packard and the Staff of the Gelbke Library
Marion Woofter and Reprographics
Chris Popadak and the Switchboard Staff
Bob Rhine and the Maintenance Staff
Gary Bateman and the Security Staff