The Dramaturgy of Mark Medoff: Five Plays Dealing with Deafness and Social Issues (Studies in Theatre Arts S. No.27)

The Dramaturgy of Mark Medoff: Five Plays Dealing with Deafness and Social Issues (Studies in Theatre Arts S. No.27)

By: Samuel Zachary (author)Hardback

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Select social and academic communities accord cultural status to deafness and disability, but cultural designation remains an intensely debated topic among many culture non-members and a sensitive "hot potato" among culture group members. As a result and with alarming speed and regularity, an increasing number of scholars now examine multiple facets of deafness and disability and how culture members intersect with mainstream society. This much needed research helps to bring into perspective and to reconcile distinct segments of our pluralistic world. Yet relatively little in-depth research investigates how dramatic literature represents deaf or disability cultures or people; more specifically, although for centuries plays have developed a myriad of disabled characters, only a handful of plays have developed deaf characters. Given these combined circumstances, the entire fields of creativity and inquiry related to deafness are badly neglected. To date, only a small sprinkling of commercially produced playscripts include deaf characters or take deaf issues as their thematic through lines. It is not surprising, then, that no existing anthology groups plays about deafness in order to provide some focused overview of the artistic representation of the deaf culture. At best, an occasional anthology might include that rare playscript with a deaf character of no doubt marginal importance to the story. This collection of five plays by Mark Medoff therefore constitutes the largest and only canon of original, commercially produced plays involving deafness and/or deaf characters by a single hearing or deaf American playwright. Each playscript is designed specifically to feature deaf actor Phyllis Frelich in the central role, and together the five playscripts dramatically illuminate numerous aspects of deafness, relationships between deaf and hearing people, and ways in which deafness interacts with an array of social circumstances. Further, the playscripts range across time from the earliest (Children of a Lesser God) in 1980 to the most recent (Prymate) in 2004. Together, they thus offer an historical insight into some changing deaf culture issues and concerns. In all respects, this anthology is unique and fills gaping artistic, cultural and scholarly voids. "If art mirrors life, for years mainstream theatre goers must have been left with the impression that deaf people do not exist. The professional stage rarely portrayed deaf characters, and even less frequently included deaf actors in plays that were not thematically based on deaf culture. People had good reason to believe that deafness was an invisible state in life. All that changed with Mark Medoff's groundbreaking play Children of a Lesser God. For the first time in critically acclaimed theatre, viewers came to the realization that not only do deaf people exist, but that they have full emotional and intellectual lives as they interact in a complex world where deaf and hearing cultures coexist, intermingle, and sometimes clash...The coexistence, intermingling, and clashing of cultures returns as a theme in Medoff's Road to a Revolution. With a cross section of characters from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, some deaf and some hearing, Medoff explores the struggles involved as each person grasps for a plece of the American pie. Through a montage of clipped dialogue, we see the confluence of differing political and social forces as embodied in the numerous characters in the play. In a succinct manner, Medoff places deaf people amidst the wide range of peoples who take the journey to personal, social, and political fulfillment. In his strong statement, Medoff recognizes that there is a place for everyone and that there is enough space for everyone - a space that has overlapping boundaries...Mr. Medoff, thank you for featuring deaf people in the mirrors you have created for reflecting our lives."- (From the Commendatory Preface) I. King Jordan, President, Gallaudet University

About Author

Dr. Zachary holds a PhD in theatre from Bowling Green State University and is currently Professor of theatre at Northern Kentucky University where he also serves as the theatre's department's Assistant Chair and Artistic Director. Dr. Zachary has published in journals such as Theatre Topics, Theatre Symposium, Literature in Performance, The Deaf American, Dramatics, and Deaf American Monographs.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773463905
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 441
  • ID: 9780773463905
  • ISBN10: 0773463909

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