Signing the ’60sPublished 9:57pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
This weekend, Lakeland High School students learning American Sign Language will bring to life with drama and music the decade that gave us The Beatles, the Vietnam War and bell-bottom jeans.
Fifteen students, about 13 of them in Anita Fisher’s ASL class, will climb aboard the yellow submarine and dive deep into the ‘60s.
Three concerts are planned for the school auditorium: Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 students, and entry for children 4 and under will be free.
“When we did The Beatles two years ago, it was just so much fun to take all the old songs and bring them to life,” said Fisher, who was a groovy high school student during the flower power years.
“Last year (was devoted) to a younger audience, and this year we wanted to go back to the ’60s and just bring these songs to life.”
At rehearsal Tuesday, students were finessing their signing skills to the beat of counterculture classics like “Turn Turn Turn,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Imagine.”
(Two of those may have been written outside the ‘60s, but quibbling over something like that would be square.)
Second year ASL student Alisha Hunter said of the ‘60s, “Actually, I kind of like it. Sixties music is better than the music we have now, honestly.”
Asked if she would have liked to live back then, Tierra Eley, in her fourth year of learning to sign, replied, “Yeah, probably. They were very hippie and into love and peace.”
Josh Deets, a first-year ASL student, said he was recently able to use his developing signing skills when he encountered a deaf waitress at Golden Corral.
“One of the struggles when they (the deaf) are growing up, if parents don’t try to learn (sign language), then they feel left out of their lives and they don’t know the joy of different things,” he said.
Deets said the ’60s were “energetic and different, a kind of revolution for America.”
The title of the student production is “The Emotional Roller Coaster of the ‘60s,” and Fisher said it would capture the spirit of the era.
“We are talking about peace and love and just the different emotions that happened in the ‘60s,” she said.
“It gives them (students) a chance for the community to come and see how ASL can be incorporated into acting, and realize it’s not just beautiful movements of the hands, it’s an actual language.”