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March 30, 2004 > Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

CSD Brings a Classic to the Stage

In-Resident Play Director Raymond Luczak, Reflecting His Own Struggles and Successes as a Deaf Person, worked with California School for the Deaf students who performed "Beauty and the Beast" in March. Although the press release was received too late for publication in our last issue, TCV would like to extend congratulations to the actors and all involved with the production of the adapted version of Jean Cocteau's 1946 film.

Mr. Luczak explained, "Many people love the tale for its romance, but for me, it is far more personal. I grew up deaf in a hearing family of nine children, and attended oral training programs in hearing schools. In these schools, I felt very much singled out and picked upon because I was the only one who wore hearing aids." He further explained, "Of course, because I did not know then that being deaf was absolutely fine, a blessing even, I felt completely powerless to defend myself. Only when I began learning some "secret" signs from a high school dropout in his 60s, I felt a glimmering sense of hope and redemption."

Director Luczak's stage adaptation of the Beauty has not much to do with being deaf other than the usage of American Sign Language. The director still sees the Beast as a memory of who he once was, full of rage against the injustice at the maltreatment of being deaf and not being accepted by the hearing world at large. He truly believes that the Beast is one of the most universal characters in all literature. He asks, "How many of us have felt unwanted and not accepted by others at one time or another? When the beast hurts, we all hurt. It is hard to forget such pain, but that is the story's enduring power; that is the possibility to redeem our hurt with love and forgiveness, to become whole again."

The high school cast and crew included:

Jory Pedersen, Mallory Malzkuhn, Justin Jackerson, Rebecca Eyrond, Shanna Grossinger, and Leila Hanaumi from Fremont; Zac West from Newark; Keith Doane from Dublin; Kayce Quartermass from Santa Cruz; Darnell Sims from East Oakland; Janette Navarro from Hayward; Kenny Dehaan from Sacramento; Janelle Thomspon from Modesto; Antonia Guzman and Jacob Magallan from Fresno.

Justin Jackerson who performed as the Beast explained, "Our play is different from most of children's storybooks, our director adapted it from an older story and the storyline is different! It is a fun story involving dancing and plenty of action. "

Bella, performed by Shanna Grossinger said, "We work together in a wonderful way, and we really enjoy practicing and memorizing the lines."

Kayce Quatermass in the supporting role as Bella's older sister, Villandella, commented, "I grew up loving to act, I am learning how to develop myself into a creative artist. It is cool to act as someone else, not as myself."

"The cast was very fortunate learn theatrical skills under the direction of Raymond Luczak, this man has had experiences writing his own scripts and has gone to various places all over the states," explained Celia May Baldwin, Dean of Students and the producer of the performance. For more information on the director and his work, visit www.raymondluczak.com

 
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