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Although my primary passion has always been for writing theatre, these days I am passionate about writing screenplays, mostly shorts, for Deaf characters. My full-length screenplay Signs of Love is a romantic comedy between a hot Deaf man and a nerdy hearing man and how their worlds collide. There just doesn’t seem to be an abundance of films with gay Deaf characters as the romantic leads. 

I recently attended the Sign Light International Deaf Film Festival in LA where I got to see such amazing films by Deaf filmmakers that it was extraordinary. One of the things that moved me was that at so many of the Q & A’s there was discussion about the challenges facing Deaf filmmakers breaking into the hearing filmmakers’ worlds. It struck me that being that I have a skill for writing and have been living with my now husband, who is Deaf, for thirty-three years, I have a certain kind of unique perspective and ability that could perhaps turn into a contribution to the Deaf film world.

In the works…I have 4 short screenplays for Deaf characters that have been picked up by film directors/producers, here in America and France, The Farm is producing some level of production of my play Vagabond, and I have a reading of my play Battered coming up at The Tank.

But back to the future, or rather the past, but really the present and hopefully the future…the theatre! My story as a playwright began when I was in fourth grade and my parents gave me a gift of a light blue typewriter. I couldn’t figure out why they gave it to me but I went up to my bedroom and wrote an eight -page play about a couple, Jack and Judy getting married and then getting divorced. My parents, Jack and Judy, who were always fighting about getting a divorce thought it was amazing and somehow it landed in the hands of my elementary school teacher. For some reason, the school had me and a girl go from class to class and perform it, because, of course, of the maturity that children of that age group have.

I grew up as an actor and trained in the Meisner technique for two years William Esper and then helped Joane Baron run her Meisner acting studio for five years, sitting in on all the classes. So, it was seven years of being steeped in Meisner. It affected my writing deeply. One day a friend asked me if I had any play that he and an actress could do for his theatre company to show them their talent. I told him he could use this silly play I wrote called Super Romantic! The next day the phone rang, and it was the theatre company asking me to become a member of their Playwrights Unit. Me? A playwright? The thought had never even crossed my mind. 

They did a full production of that play as a curtain raiser for an Author Miller play, which was a little like being the opening act for Elvis. Then something happened. Opening night, I was hiding backstage when I heard the audience all burst into an enormous laugh. And then another and another and another and it struck me that I had caused all these people to laugh and, in an instant, I was addicted to playwriting!

Over the years I had many plays produced and received much love for them. I’ve had the good fortune to have my play Vagabond optioned by The Farm (we grow theatre) and was paid a decent amount of money. My play Falling Awake was nominated for Most Outstanding New Play by The Midtown International Theatre Festival, where several of my plays were produced along with my play Ticket to Eternity at the New York International Fringe Festival. 

I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts where I earned my BFA & MFA in Dramatic Writing, where I got to study with the brilliant Gordon Farrell, playwright of The Lifespan of a Fact and author of The Playwrights Vision, which I have read about forty times. I used notes for his class for the fifteen years I taught playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College. I studied screenwriting with Jacob Krueger at Write Your Own Screenplay, and I find that he has such a creative, inventive approach to screenwriting. 

I grew up in an artistic home and  my father was always the head of the art programs at various colleges and when I was five he put me in play to be portray a Japanese child. Every night I stood in line with this woman who said she was my mother, but I didn’t believe her and we waited for rice, which we never got. One night I got so frustrated, I said “Mom, why don’t we just cut the line?” She whispered something about there being an audience and to be quiet. The next year I was in a Shakespearean play where I had a line which for some reason made the King threaten to chop my head off. I RAN off stage every night.


All kinds of wonderful people told me it was all imaginary but I knew better. I was told that the actor used to run around the theatre trying to find me to tell me he didn’t really mean it but I always found places to hide.  I can never understand why I risked my life every night but as they say, “The show must go on.” My grandmother flew down from the famous New York City and afterward came backstage and said “I couldn’t hear a word you said, you’ll never be an actor.” I had no idea what she meant about being an actor, I was just trying not to get killed but it still didn’t feel wonderful.


When I was six my family moved to India where I fell wildly in love with the country. There was a house we lived in for a while and every morning we played Croquet, which if you don’t know is like baseball but the ball always stays on the ground. However, at each base was a chimp that was always much taller than me. I used to pray not to hit the ball so I wouldn’t have to run to the base and get killed by the chimp. But I did and I ran. I stopped at the base and the chimp, and I stared at each other. I had started to learn to speak Indian but was at a loss with how to talk to chimps, so we just thought to each other, and he finally thought to me, “You worry too much.” Why do people always say that to me?


Anyway, when it was time to leave India, I begged my family to leave me there. I was better at the language, had joined an Indian dance company, had the white outfit, and the bells for my feet and was desperate to remain. They said something ridiculous about being seven was too young to be left in a country alone and we went back to America where my life went from color to black and white.


However, I have to give my birth town credit. Since then Frederick, Maryland has become a kind of Deaf cultural center where there are so many Deaf people, even hearing people in stores and restaurants have learned sign language. Since I married a Deaf man, it was kind of like my hometown was preparing me, or maybe it just went through the transformation in my honor. 

So, that is it a bit about me. Now it’s your turn. What about you?

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