Theater is known to be one of the most time-consuming, beautiful, and graceful forms of art. Before each play, actors memorize and rehearse their lines until they reach perfection. One single mistake can cause a whole play to stop or become a complete disaster. In theater, each person needs to be dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to make the play successful. This itself is already hard enough, but the CVHS American Sign Language class takes the meaning of theater to a whole new level.
From Feb. 9 to Feb.12, the ASL class is presenting a tale of adventure, love, and hope in The Little Mermaid…An Eternal Perspective. In ASL’s production, the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Little Mermaid, is molded into a perfect story about the boundaries between the Deaf and the Hearing world.
Chris Martinez, an Honors ASL student who is playing Brad (the Prince of Bel-Air) commented, “It’s not your average Disney movie.”
Set in the modern time, Bree (Katie Grasseschi) is a deaf teen who gets her romantic dreams of receiving her first kiss from the school’s hottest guy, Brad (Chris Martinez), crushed by the misfortune of landing in a hospital. There, her world is turned around when high school students Charlie (Hayley Hall), Leo (Janeiro Golson), and Phoebe (Alex Adkins), Prue (Kiaira Rosby), and Piper (Nicole Braski), volunteer to cheer Bree up and create a unique fairytale of The Little Mermaid along the way.
Brielle (Chelsea Allen-Fiero), a mermaid and the daughter of King Eli (Tyler Reince), is dissatisfied with life in the sea, the Deaf World. She longs to explore the Hearing World, the world on the surface, and therefore goes to Coral (Candice Lozano), the Sea Witch, to strike a deal, defying her father. Coral gives her a cochlear headpiece which allows her to hear but not speak to the people in the Hearing World, on the condition that she never be able to return to the Deaf World.
Since the summer of 2011, the CVHS ASL class has been preparing for the big play, first making the script, then auditioning, and finally rehearsing. Unlike the previous plays that the ASL class performed, where the actors sign what they are saying while a voice at the pit translated it, they are going to take the play to a professional level.
“This year we’re going to use a method that only the professionals have used. Instead of having a voice translating off stage, we’re going to have someone sign or talk and the person answering would reply with either one,” explained Ovida de Julia, CVHS ASL teacher.
Basically, for parts of the play, an actor on stage will say dialogue and the person replying would sign answering back but not repeating what what the previous actor has said.
This method would allow the audience who doesn’t know sign language to understand,” de Julia commented.
Aside from the unique sign language and dancing, the play will also be featuring songs such as “Octopus’ Garden,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,” “Hate on Me,” “California Prince Minty Fresh Mash-up,” and others.