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Home > Clerc Center > MSSD Spring Play Features Adaptation of On Golden Pond

MSSD Spring Play Features Adaptation of On Golden Pond


Each year the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) Performing Arts Program invites a student to direct the spring play. This year, MSSD student MeiLi Robbins is directing what she believes is the first performance with an all-deaf cast of Ernest Thompson's highly acclaimed play, On Golden Pond.

The two-act play, set in rural Maine, centers on retired professor Norman Thayer, living what he thinks are his last days in life filled with sarcasm, humor, and just plain old grumpiness.  The play explores Thayer's relationships with his family. It is with the arrival of his daughter, Chelsea, at the summer cabin on Golden Pond with the new love of her life, Bill, and his son, Billy, that the play kicks into high drama.

MSSD student Wade Green played the lead role of Norman Thayer. "My character, Norman, is smart, stubborn, mean, and straightforward," said Green at one of the rehearsals. "He thinks he is young still-in the play I communicate with my 'grandson' Billy in jive." Green had neither acted in a full stage production nor performed in American Sign Language prior to this producation. Being a part of the play has been an opportunity to "learn more about deaf culture, to make my signing more fluent, and to develop confidence," he said.

Student-director Robbins adapted the play and brought it up-to-date with today's technology (i.e., videophones, pagers).  She wanted the play to come across as "funny, ironic, and from the heart. It shows the life of the old and young with conflicts with their relationships."