Beauty and the Beast in a Deaf World
Directed by James Caverly
4:00pm Kent State University—Student Union
(After the Workshop)
This is not your Disney-version of the story! Originally created by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740, Beauty and the Beast was later abridged, rewritten, and published by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756. Since then, the tale has been adapted for stage, film, and television. That story was a compilation of fairy tales, fables and folklore. Beauty and the Beast in a Deaf World (and it is likely this title will change) is currently being co-authored by members of Deaf Theatre of Ohio. Set in the era of Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), this play is a twist upon the traditional story Beauty and the Beast in that it draws upon the powerful history of deaf education and entertains the historically controversial debate: should we be teaching deaf children to lipread and speak or should we be teaching deaf children to use a sign language? (And teaching both was often not presented as an option.) Alexander Graham Bell, best known as the inventor of the telephone, and whose mother and wife were both deaf, became highly involved in this debate. Belle is a deaf character caught in the middle: is she more beautiful when she communicates in ASL or when she lipreads and speaks?