Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Document Type


First Advisor

Ethan Sinnott

Second Advisor

Esther Kim Lee


Greek theatre and Deaf theatre are two forms of theatre that are on the opposite ends of a sensory spectrum. Greek theatre is auditory-based with an acoustically designed stage, seating twenty-five thousand. With two to three actors on the stage, movements are minimal, and masks are used to portray numerous characters. Visually based Deaf theatre uses movement through facial expression, body language, and American Sign Language. Because of this sharp contrast, there has been hesitancy in taking on a Greek play in Deaf theatre. Gallaudet University’s Theatre and Dance program has not produced an ancient Greek tragedy since Ethan Sinnott’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon in 2008. Further research into Gallaudet’s Theatre production history reveals that only four ancient Greek plays have been produced at Gallaudet University since 1969. Challenging the misconception of Greek and Deaf theatre, Euripides’ tragedy MEDEA will be transformed intentionally for visual d/Deaf audiences, keeping defining elements of ancient Greek plays—some staging, and the chorus for example—and unique facets of MEDEA in particular—characters, basic plot, and theme. The visucentric adaptation focuses on three areas: the translation process; analysis of intercultural and intertemporal processes affecting decisions of staging, lighting, costuming, actors, props, and set; and a production history incorporating and responding to critiques of past d/Deaf and American Sign Language (ASL) stagings. This adaptation also realizes the director’s vision of MEDEA as a tragedy of a patriarchal, misogynist, racist, and xenophobic society that parallels contemporary U.S. society. All three experimental workshop performances of MEDEA invited audience critique of the vision of social/political unrest and of the Deafcentric adaptation.



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