Castro Valley High School American Sign Language Program
SIGN LANGUAGE GOES MUSICAL
Students Produce Sign Language Musical While Their Deaf Teacher is out Fighting Cancer
On February 7th, the Castro Valley High School American Sign Language (ASL) Program will be have its opening performance of their student produced musical, Bella and the Beasts, written by their Deaf ASL teacher, T.J. Ovida de Julia and her daughter Lavender-Cygnet S. de Julia. This musical has been entirely student produced.
The Castro Valley High School ASL Program has been writing and producing its own musicals for over six years and for the first time ever, is doing it without a Sign Language teacher. These musicals are preformed entirely in sign language and are voice interpreted by students for a hearing audience. These musicals first began when a student came up with the idea producing a signed musical in place of a variety show. The shows are now written by the de Julia family, and are used to educate the local community about American Sign Language and Deaf culture. The proceeds from these fundraisers are then used to fund the students trip to visit California State Northridge’s Deaf Studies program, Deaf West Theater and finally Disneyland for its annual Deaf Awareness Day.
Starting in November, the program’s teacher and advisor had to take an unexpected leave of absence when she found out that she had stage four cancer. Now undergoing chemotherapy and being unable to return to work, the students have worked for several months to build sets, translate lines and song lyrics, choreograph dances, edit music, and finish all of the other aspects of play production. A gracious staff member agreed to take on the responsibility of supervising program activities, while students took over running the program in their teacher’s absence.
Ms. de Julia will be coming to the show on Saturday evening with special permission from her doctor, in order to present awards for students who have taken on additional roles in order to keep the program running and fulfilling the request that she gave to them for her absence, “Keep going no matter what.”
Bella and the Beasts by: T.J. Ovida de Julia & Lavender-Cygnet S. de Julia
Adapted from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve & Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont
Prince Elliot was cursed to a signing beastly form by an Enchantress, disguised as an old Deaf beggar woman, who saw no love in his arrogant heart for others. The one way he could break the spell was to learn to respect and love another culture and earn that culture’s love in return before his enchanted swan sang her final swan song on his twenty-first birthday. Holmes, a flamboyant young man vies for Bella’s attention. Because they are both Deaf, and share the same culture, he is sure he will win her heart. His underhanded and dastardly tactics prove to be unsuccessful, revealing his inner beast. So who could ever learn to love either beast? Many years later, Papa, an inventor from a nearby Deaf community, becomes lost in the woods on his way to the Deaf Nation Expo and is taken by the Beast and held captive in his castle for trespassing. His daughter Bella, a bookworm who dreams of life outside her small town life finds him trapped in the castle and offers to take his place. The Beast accepts with a promise she’ll remain in the castle forever. In the beginning Bella views him as nothing more than a hearing monster, he views her as difficult and stubborn. But the two then experience the bitter-sweetness of finding you can change and learning that first impressions can be misleading.
Come and watch CVHS American Sign Language show Bella and the Beasts!
Where: Castro Valley Center for the Arts
19501 Redwood Rd
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Thursday, February 7th at 7 pm
Friday, February 8th at 7 pm
Saturday, February 9th
Matinee at 2pm
Evening at 7pm