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October 28, 2005

RELEASE: Gallaudet hosts groundbreaking play

From: Gallaudet - Oct 28, 2005

Celebrating close to 30 years in production, an emotionally charged theatrical work will open at Gallaudet next month.

Written by Ntozake Shange, the theatrical work, "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf," played to its first commercial audience in 1976. It will begin its run at Gallaudet University on Nov. 11.

During its almost three decades in production, the play has been described as a "controversial, explosive and truly seminal work in the American Theatre." Covering such subject matters as abortion, rape, relationships and commitment, self-love, "struggle and hard times", tragedy and redemption, the message truly strikes a resounding chord with all audiences.

The Gallaudet production is, in itself, unique. Shange's classic work will now be told on the hands and in the mouths of an expanded, interracial, Deaf and hearing cast. The ensemble will frame the heart-wrenching, funny, poignant stories that are as resoundingly true today as they were thirty years ago with today's world, and ask you to "come share our world with."

Jaye Austin Williams will be directing the play, Gallaudet's scheduled fall production. Williams is a director, playwright, actor, teacher, consultant and writer. In the 1990s, she served as artistic director of New York Deaf Theatre and was resident director with the Onyx Theatre Company (Michelle Banks, Artistic Director) for seven years. She has directed numerous productions regionally, including Emily Mann's "Having Our Say" and two regional premieres of Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. As an actor, Jaye received critical acclaim (NY Times and the Village Voice) portraying "Miss-Miss" in Suzan-Lori Parks' one woman play, "Pickling" at Joe's Pub at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, HERE, the Mint Theatre and the Cherry Lane. Jaye is the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies. Her adaptation of poet and author, Sapphire's book "American Dreams" was extensively developed at the Sundance Theatre Lab, and later presented at the Public Theatre. Most recently, her adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters", titled "Sisters Outside and a Brother Who Knows Where" (set in Washington, D.C.'s gold coast) was commissioned by and presented at the Mark Taper Forum. As an ASL director/consultant, she made Broadway history when she hired two African American deaf actresses to interpret Emily Mann's "Having Our Say" for deaf audiences, marking the first time the ASL interpreters were themselves deaf. Her first young adult novel is in development and will be published by HarperCollins Publishers.