Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Type


First Advisor

Ethan Sinnott

Second Advisor

Monique Holt


As an homage to the musical RENT, I wrote and directed an original play entitled Baggage, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, that was produced for the Gallaudet University Theatre Department’s spring 2019 production. Baggage follows three Deaf teenagers, Michaela, Gage, and Isabel, who connect through the music of RENT, as they find themselves entangled which ultimately ends in a falling out. The play also shows the experience of growing up in a hearing family as Michaela, Gage, and Isabel face frustration, underestimation, and neglect in their families. To spotlight the multifaceted ways of experiencing deafness, three songs from RENT were incorporated to combat the mistaken assumption that a love of music minimizes one’s Deaf identity. Baggage also addressed sexuality and gender identity, with Gage and Isabel coming out to their parents as transgender and lesbian, making it the first play in Gallaudet theatre history to do so. Inspired by Post-colonialism and the three stages of marginalized writing, the play strives to move Deaf theatre into new territory where deafness is not the main source of conflict but instead an aspect of life, along with other universal experiences such as infatuation, heartbreak, and identity crises. Ultimately, the play has a central message of learning from and living with one’s mistakes, but most importantly to embrace the different aspects of one’s identity.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.