Bits 'n Pieces: ‘Living Dead’ to come alive for deaf audiences

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Theater director Stephanie McCrea knew almost from the moment Cheyenne Ellis started her audition that the 14-year-old had to have a part in Evergreen High School’s production of “Night of the Living Dead.”

Ellis, who’s deaf, just did a terrific job, said McCrea, 32, of Vancouver.

“She signed her monologue,” McCrea said. “I was amazed at what a great performer she was. I thought, you know, I just have to make this work.”

McCrea asked students in advanced American Sign Language classes at Evergreen if they’d be willing to translate the entire show for deaf audience members who wanted to watch.

“It happened kind of organically,” McCrea said. “They got involved, and then the Washington School for the Deaf said they were excited about it. So now we have two full performances that will be all in ASL.”

Performances on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 will have ASL translators throughout the entire performance. Performers will also speak their lines, and Ellis will sign her lines while a translator speaks them out loud.

Other performances on Nov. 4, 11 and 12 will be done without full ASL translation, but an ASL student will translate Ellis’ signing for non-ASL speakers in the audience.

“There really hasn’t been a lot out there for the deaf community as far as theater productions, so this is really cool,” McCrea said.

Performances will be at 7 each night at the EHS auditorium, 14300 N.E. 18th St., Vancouver. Cost is $5 for students, $7 for adults.

Faux campaign aims to promote chuckles, get voters thinking

If Gary Bock and Jim Mains had been in elementary school together, they would probably have been on their teachers’ “most separated” list.

The two pranksters, who met at a Leadership Clark County meeting, have been getting into all kinds of mischief — most recently by starting a fake political sign campaign around Vancouver.

“We hatch a new cockamamie plot every couple of months, just because it’s entertaining and it afflicts the comfortable,” said Bock, 51, of Ridgefield. “This time we decided to be candidates. We’re not actually campaigning for anything, though, so we figured we’d just campaign against each other.”

Bock is executive director of the Vancouver Watersheds Alliance.

The yellow signs have popped up downtown around Esther Short Park and in east Vancouver along 164th Avenue, with messages like “Subliminally, this sign will change your vote” and “Does this sign make me look fat?”

The goal of the mock campaign is both to make fun of some of the negative aspects of the political process and to encourage people to read up on candidates before they vote, said Mains.

“‘Think before you vote’ is basically the catchphrase,” said Mains, 35, of Vancouver. “This is totally not about trying to really sway either political side. It’s just us having fun.”

Mains, who has a public relations company and is Vancouver City Councilor Bart Hansen’s campaign manager, had about 75 signs printed. He paid for the materials and the signmaker put them together for free.

The signs, he emphasized, have nothing to do with his role with Hansen’s campaign.

Mains and Bock’s mock campaign doesn’t include any fundraising, but in the past the two have staged a fake boxing match at the Vancouver Farmers Market and Facebook “like” campaign that ended up raising about $5,000 for various local charities.

The pair plan to continue their mischievous trend. If you want to keep an eye on them, their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/garybockvsjimmains.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or email features@columbian.com.