By: Olivia Wile
It’s time for another University of Findlay theatre production, and this time one with a deeper meaning.
Mother Hicks, a folkloric story written by Suzan Zeder, will be brought to life on the stage through poetry and sign language.
The production opens on Thursday, Nov. 8 and the show will run from Nov. 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are free for UF students, faculty and staff and $6 for community members.
In an interview with Findlay News Room, Director Meriah Sage says the play has been a collaborative effort between the UF theatre department and American Sign Language.
“Of all the scripts we read that leant themselves to theatre in the round, we selected this one because of the real characters, themes of finding one’s self and one’s place in the world, and connection to American Sign Language (ASL),” said Sage.
The production stars Alyssa Plack as Tuc, India Miller as the orphan girl and Becca Kowalski as Mother Hicks.
“Tuc, a young Deaf man, is the main storyteller in the show, and uses ASL to share his story with the audience,” said Sage. “Chorus members from the cast interpret his words into English for hearing audience members who don’t know ASL.”
Sage explains that Leah Brant and Kyle Parke are the two ASL faculty members that have played major roles in producing the play.
According to Findlay News Room, Parke, who is deaf himself, says the play does a great job capturing deaf culture back in the 1930s.
“When I first read the play, I was very surprised that it takes the time to explain the character of Tuc, and how the character of Mother Hicks came to know him, as well as interact with him,” explained Parke. “There’s a scene that is incredibly insightful where Mother Hicks explains to someone else how Tuc talks, exclaiming that people were ‘just too ignorant to understand’ that Tuc can talk to them with his hands.”
Parke believes the play has the potential to both educate and leave an impact on audiences.
“It’s my hope that this play sheds light on the fact that for centuries, Deaf people were often misunderstood and thought to be ‘dumb’ because they didn’t communicate the same way as their hearing peers did,” said Parke. “Quite often, Deaf people were misdiagnosed as mentally impaired and put into institutions for ‘treatment’ that they didn’t need, all because no one bothered to determine whether they can hear or not.”
Tickets are available online at www.marathoncenterarts.org, by calling 419-423-2787 or visiting the Performing Arts box office located at 200 W. Main Cross St.