Unique presentation of The Little Mermaid Junior coming to Hubbard theater

The play is designed to bring two communities together, the hearing and the deaf

HUBBARD, Ohio (WYTV) – If you’ve ever been to the theater, you know a major component to any show is sound, from the actors speaking to the music that accompanies the performance.

But, what if you couldn’t hear those sounds?

Rich Magazzine is a teacher at Hubbard High School. Along with his former student, Jessie Karkum, who now studies at Kent State Trumbull, the two are directing a performance of The Little Mermaid Junior, but with a twist.

The entire play will be performed in American Sign Language.

“Both hearing people and deaf people can come together and share in a little bit of culture, where hearing people can glimpse what it’s like in the deaf community and deaf people can come and see something in their native language,” Magazzine said.

The students taking Magazzine’s ASL 3 class will be the actors in the play, which will also have audio translations.

“It brings the hearing and deaf community together. A lot of plays around here, community theater is just hearing,” Karkum said.

This isn’t the first time they’ve done a play like this, though. Last year, Magazzine and Karkum co-directed an ASL version of Beauty and the Beast.

“ASL is a wonderful language. I took it last year just to try something new and I fell in love with the language. I think it’s wonderful,” said Ralissa Suarez, a Hubbard High School senior.

But it hasn’t all been easy.

“So, just like with any language, it’s tricky to get those translations from one language to another. For example, we have idioms like ‘kick the bucket.’ [In] ASL that doesn’t translate. If you signed that they would literally be looking for a bucket to kick,” Magazzine said. “We’re asking them to do a lot in a relatively short amount of time and they’re doing well.”

Anyone can attend the play on April 7 and 8. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and $7 for adults. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.