Suspended. Silent. Still.
In the early decades of the Twentieth Century, a mysterious disease appeared and cast a spell on its victims. For some, the spell was momentary, others passed away and still others languished for decades in an almost comatose state save for intermittent utterances or movements.
Thirty years after encephalitis lethargica mysteriously appeared a drug developed for Parkinson’s is given to a group of patients, and what seems like a miraculous remission occurs. Patients wake, laugh, speak, become themselves again. But devastatingly, the action of the drug is unreliable, and patients are eventually re-entombed in their own stiffened bodies.
In 1972, Dr. Sacks published his book Awakenings detailing his work with patients suffering from encephalitis lethargica. Pinter, fascinated by Sacks’s account wrote A Kind of Alaska as an exploration of one patient’s unvoiced thoughts, feelings and awakening.
Join us on April 20th and 21st as we lift the veil from Deborah’s 30 year sleep and observe how she struggles to orient herself, a child in an adult’s body, perplexed, distraught yet filled with wonder.
In this landmark ASL production, we weave three forms of sign language together highlighting the passage of time within in the play and as a way, to subtly pay homage to the struggle and movement for recognition of ASL as language in its own right in America which Dr. Saks wrote about so eloquently in his book Seeing Voices.