This course emphasizes the active exploration of Deaf culture in dramatic arts, ASL in dramatic forms and techniques, using material from a wide range of Deaf actors, authors, genres and sub- cultures. Students will construct, discuss, perform, and analyse drama, and then reflect on the experiences to develop an understanding of themselves, the art form, and the world around them.
Note: Aspects of Deaf culture and Deaf experience are incorporated and reflected in Deaf theatre. Subtle visual cues are used to communicate with fellow performers to ensure fluidity of productions. Students are encouraged to identify and differentiate plays & productions created by Deaf actors, playwrights and theatre companies. Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the influence of Deaf culture and Deaf experience on Deaf theatre and assimilate aspects of Deaf culture and Deaf experience into their own interpreted plays.
Reference: For a list of links, please click on “Dramatic Arts Resources”.
By the end of this course, students will:
• demonstrate an understanding of the conventions of role playing;
• demonstrate an understanding of the elements and principles of dramatic expression
(e.g., signing, facial expression, movement, production values);
• identify and describe a variety of dramatic forms (e.g., tableau, storytelling, improvisation).
• demonstrate acting technique by engaging in a variety of roles;
• demonstrate effective communication skills, such as attending and signing, both in and out of role;
• demonstrate an understanding of drama as a collaborative art form;
• interpret a variety of Deaf theatre (e.g., National Theatre of the Deaf, Gallaudet University productions, NTID Performing Arts, Deaf West Theatre, Invisible Hands, Rosa Lee Show, Rob Roy Show and many more productions), that incorporates a wide range of dramatic forms (e.g., improvisation, comedy, ASL storytelling);
• use the vocabulary of theatrical criticism to evaluate their own dramatic presentations;
By the end of this course, students will:
• demonstrate an understanding of role as a balance of self (student) and other (role and circumstances in the drama);
• identify the skills necessary to remain engaged in role and the drama (e.g., adapt/modify one to the role, concentration, signing styles, interpreting, questioning);
• demonstrate an understanding of signing dimension, non manual signals, facial expression, pace, and intention in the development of expressive signing style within character’s role;
• demonstrate an understanding of how a variety of dramatic forms can be used in the construction, communication, coordination and reflection of an ASL drama (e.g., ritual, teacher in-role, choral signing);
• demonstrate an understanding of the process of transforming a script into a dramatic ASL expression (e.g., interpreting written English script through ASL);
• research a dramatic form prevalent before 1980’s (e.g., Tragedy of Hamlet & Prince of Denmark by Gallaudet College (1951) , Sign Me Alice by Gil Eastman (1970’s), Deaf West Theatre – Children of a Lesser God, Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on Broadway (1968));
• trace the development of a convention of comedy (e.g., Charlie Chaplin, CJ Jones Live, Rosa Lee Show, and Angela Stratiy);
• identify and employ different kinds of questions to develop and deepen roles within a drama (e.g., through research, interaction, open-ended questions, questions seeking information, questions that establish setting and context);
• explain how props, costume, masks, signing style, and movement, communicate a role;
• identify and apply principles of receptive attending (e.g., eye contact, focus, non-verbal/visual cues and responses, paraphrasing) both in and out of role;
• perform, in the classroom, a variety of dramatic presentations, using a range of forms (e.g., choral signing, ritual, soliloquy);
• find the most effective way to position an audience and performers to attain a desired effect (e.g., clear line of vision between audience & performers – during dialogue, soliloquy)
• generate criteria to assess individual Deaf performers’ contributions to the collective development of Deaf theatre in North America (e.g., Johnathan Kovacs – Rathskeller, Bernard Bragg, John Maucere – Deafywood, Gil Eastman – Gallaudet University Department of Theatre, Angela Stratiy – comedy and Canadian Deaf Theatre)
• use specialized vocabulary correctly in discussing and writing about drama (e.g., production value, role development, stagecraft, comic relief, satire, irony);
• identify universal themes and issues in Deaf theatre.