June 13, 2007 |
Nearly 30 years after Mark Medoff's watershed "Children of a Lesser God" reshaped popular attitudes toward deafness, watching Rubicon Theatre's revival inevitably invites the question of how much progress we've made toward solving the issues it raised. The short answer is: enough to make the play feel dated in spots, but not enough to diminish its relevance.
October 20, 2002 |
For the next few weeks, things may be a little quieter backstage at the Mark Taper Forum. That's because some Taper staff members have begun signing to each other instead of speaking -- busily practicing their new skills in American Sign Language in preparation for the Nov. 14 opening of Deaf West Theatre's musical "Big River -- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," performed by a cast of hearing and deaf actors using music, voice, sign language and dance.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 27, 2000 |
Ventura County's unofficial Neil Simon festival continues with the current run of "God's Favorite" at the Ojai Center for the Arts. One of Simon's less well-received plays at its original 1974 run, it's a seriocomic retelling of the biblical book of Job, set in contemporary New York City. It wasn't an original idea: Poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish had done pretty much the same thing with "J.B.," with some success, in 1958.
February 25, 1996 |
Although she loved the stage, Phyllis Frelich grew up with little hope of becoming an actress. "I always enjoyed theater," she explains in an interview, speaking through her interpreter and husband, set designer Robert Steinberg. "But when I was young, it was hard to have those thoughts [of being an actress]. "There were no careers [in the theater] for deaf people," she continues. "And there was no way for a deaf person to study theater." That was back in the 1950s.
June 15, 1992
Who should they have hired to do "Children of a Lesser God" if not Marlee Matlin? I myself have been pitching a movie of the week around town about the disability movement as a civil rights movement--a great story based on a true event. I'm asked about putting Jaclyn Smith in a wheelchair. My response is that it would be insulting as well as counterproductive for the 43 million people with disabilities in America to have an able-bodied woman play a disabled civil rights activist in a movie about an event that changed history.
May 4, 1992 |
As movies are the common denominator of our culture, we remember certain scenes, certain conflicts, certain endings all our lives. Who can forget when Clark Gable carried Vivien Leigh upstairs in "Gone With the Wind"? Or when Richard Gere carried Debra Winger out of the factory in "An Officer and a Gentleman"? We also remember some last lines. Last lines are a critical part of any movie. They often summarize the story and suggest the future.