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Spoon River, Jabberwocky and Haiku poems

 Digital Work
Identifier: ds_0031_spoonriverhaiku_cap_01.mp4


  • Creation: 1972



Jack Smith, former Director of Public Information at NTID, introduces Robert F. Panara, an NTID Deaf professor who has managed the Experimental Educational Theatre, Drama Club, and involved with the founding of The National Theatre of the Deaf and NTID's Director, William E. Castle, a strong supporter of theatre. Panara explains that the Drama Club performs two shows per quarter and up to fifty students are involved with the performances, either as actors, artists, set designers, stage construction crew, and promotional activities. Asked to define sign mime, Panara says it's like "painting pictures in the air". Castle explains that theatre is an important educational tool that Deaf students respond to as they can express themselves freely. Three works are performed by seven students in the Drama Club: an excerpt from Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, and Haiku Japanese poems. The student performers are: Charles 'Chuck' Baird, Betti (Elizabeth) Bonni, Debbie Helwig, Thomas Orscher, Donald Stoops, Miriam Sotomayor, and Glenn Stewart. In the first performance, Spoon River, it opens up with six bodies lying on the stage and Betti Bonni starts to narrate the excerpt. When she is done, individual performers stand up and take turns reciting the excerpt in sign language. The second performance shows Thomas Orscher performing Jabberwocky. The third and final performance shows individual performances signing Haiku poems.


150.84 Megabytes (mp4)


Sign Languages


General Note

This material was digitized as part of a CLIR Hidden Collections grant: "Sculptures in the Air: An Accessible Online Video Repository of the American Sign Language (ASL) Poetry and Literature Collections at the RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive (RIT/NTID DSA) in Rochester, NY." Original VHS recordings were transferred to mp4 format, captioned, and voiced, by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Production Services department.

Processing Information

Dr. Joan Naturale, NTID Librarian, provided accurate sign language transcriptions of this video; voicing from ASL into English was provided by Miriam Lerner, performing arts interpreter. Dr. Naturale also prepared the abstract and notes.

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA