Archikulture Digest

Children of a Lesser God

Children of a Lesser God

By Mark Medoff

Directed by Brenna Nicely and Beth Marshall

Starring Will Hagaman and Eliza Stevens

Beth Marshall Presents

At the Garden Theatre, Winter Garden FL</strong>

Deaf School politics are like any academic warfare – brutal, intercine and fought over relative small stakes. Idealist James Leeds (Hagaman) is the new teacher in the school lead by Mr. Franklin (Adrian LePeltier). He starts James off with a tough case: truculent Sarah Norman (Stevens). She’s stayed on at the academy way past the time most students are pushed out, so now she’s technically the cleaning staff and this allows her to avoid dealing with the hearing world. James tries to draw her out, they fall in love, and I’m left to wonder – why is there a curfew for instructors and legally adult staff members? After the pair sneak off to an Italian restaurant and James figures out how to sign “cannoli” the affair heats up and is soon the “talk” of the academy. The romance annoys punk rocker Oren (Mike Deaven,) he’s set on leading a revolution as soon as he can find a good one and he needs Sarah’s deaf “purity” to legitimize his ability to speak. James and Sarah marry but it’s not going well, Sarah is easily offend and jealous of ample Lydia (Madison Graham) who comes around to watch TV and forget her bra. Soon lawsuits are flying, and we find tonight’s lesson: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This is an amazing production, nearly everything is signed and you might pick up a few bits of ASL, not that doing so will impress any of the politically energized deaf. Hagaman is normally a comedic actor but in this very serious role he turns that to advantage with his bumbling frustration at mercurial Sarah. Stevens turns on the sex appeal in the first act and turns it off after the “I do’s” are signed, but her role is hard to like – she seeks appreciation but sees all attempts as either pity or condensation. The other supporting characters are all quite strong willed, Deaven’s Orin just needs studs in his forehead for complete Punker cred and LePeltier’s academic leadership stands ready to burn the school down before he’ll secede an inch. Jamie Middleton Appears as the scavenging lawyer Edna Klein and sympathetic Ava Tunstall is Sarah’s beaten down mother.

We hold a social contract that obligates us to help the helpless, where they want help or not. You want to see the deaf hear, the blind see and the homeless sheltered, but those bad things might just be symptoms of darker problems, problems not so easily fixed. And dammit, why don’t those poor people appreciate what we want to do for them? Don’t they get how bad we feel for them?

For more information on The Garden Theatre, please visit www.gardentheatre.org


Recently on Ink 19...

Garage Sale Vinyl: The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Garage Sale Vinyl: The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Garage Sale Vinyl

Rifling through a boxful of ravaged old records, Christopher Long locates a flea market LP copy of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils Don’t Look Down — for a quarter — and speaks with the band’s co-founding bassist, Michael “Supe” Granda, about his amazing discovery.

Henry V

Henry V

Archikulture Digest

Blood, guts, and kicking butt in France — it’s the age-old story of Shakespeare. Carl F. Gauze once again enjoys the salacious violence and complicated plot points of Henry V, in the moody dark of Orlando Shakes.

%d bloggers like this: