Deaf West's AMERICAN BUFFALO To Play Columbus this Fall
Performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and English, this acclaimed production of American Buffalo by Los Angeles-based theatre company Deaf West deftly delivers an extraordinary theatre experience through the remarkable integration of David Mamet's explosive script and the palpable expressiveness of signing. When a Chicago junk shop owner undersells a valuable coin, he plots with two seedy cohorts to retrieve "his" property, resulting in a vivid exploration of human morality and the corruption of the American dream. Contains adult content and explicit language.
CAPA, in association with CATCO, presents Deaf West Theatre's American Buffalo at Studio One, Riffe Center (77 S. High St.) November 30-December 9. Tickets are $30-$40 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
The performance schedule is as follows:
Thursday, November 30, 7:30pm
Friday, December 1, 8 pm
Saturday, December 2, 8 pm
Sunday, December 3, 2 pm
Tuesday, December 5, 8 pm
Wednesday, December 6, 8 pm
Thursday, December 7, 8 pm
Friday, December 8, 8 pm
Saturday, December 9, 8 pm
This production is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Dorothy E. Ann Fund of The Columbus Foundation.
Deaf West Theatre is renowned for casting a mix of deaf and hearing actors and performing simultaneously in ASL and spoken English. The company felt the highly-charged, naturalistic dialogue of American Buffalo lent itself easily to translation into ASL.
"Mamet's rhythms are grounded in the way people actually speak, and they share a close kinship with the ebb and flow of conversational sign language," suggests Deaf West Artistic Director David J. Kurs. "It's rare to come across a script with language that feels like a natural point of entry into ASL. The way Mamet's characters communicate through broken thoughts and unfinished sentences also reflects the frequent communication gap between deaf and hearing people."
Directed by Deaf West veteran Stephen Rothman, the cast is Troy Kotsur (Teach), Collin Bressie (voice of Teach), Paul Raci (Donny), and Matthew Ryan Pest (Bobby).
The production was originally performed in Los Angeles in 2015 in conjunction with Cal State Los Angeles.
About American Buffalo
American Buffalo premiered in 1975 at Chicago's Goodman Theatre Stage Two in a production that launched the career of William H. Macy. After 12 performances, the production moved to Chicago's St. Nicholas Theatre Company. In February 1976, American Buffalo opened at St. Clement's in New York, where it received an Obie Award for Best New Play. A year later, it opened on Broadway under the direction of Ulu Grosbard, garnering the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play of 1977 as well as two Tony and four Drama Desk nominations. New York Times theater critic Frank Rich hailed it as "one of the best American plays of the last decade." It was revived on Broadway in 1983 with Al Pacino, and again in 2008 starring Cedric the Entertainer, Haley Joel Osment, and John Leguizamo. The play was adapted into a 1996 film featuring Dennis Franz, Dustin Hoffman, and Sean Nelson.
About Deaf West Theatre
Deaf West Theatre is recognized as the premier sign language theater in the US. Over the last 25 years, it has produced more than 40 plays and five musicals, winning more than 80 theatre awards including Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre.
Currently, it is performing Our Town at the Pasadena Playhouse ("Wilder's tale is stunningly reborn for a new era" - Los Angeles Times). Deaf West's 2014 production of Spring Awakening ("an emotional triumph" - Los Angeles Times) went on to Broadway for a successful run, capped by three Tony nominations and a featured performance at the 2016 Tony Awards.
In 2013, Cyrano, a co-production with the Fountain Theatre, received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production. Deaf West's production of Big River received both Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland Awards for Best Musical when it premiered in Los Angeles, then transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for two Tony and four Drama Desk Awards.
Deaf West was the first intimate theater company in the history of the LA Stage Ovation Awards to win both Best Play (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Best Musical (Oliver!) in the same year (2000). That same year, the company was awarded the distinguished Polly Warfield Award for Most Outstanding Season from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.
In 2005, Deaf West was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its "distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the culture lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing actors and theater patrons." www.deafwest.org
Photo credit: Noel Bass