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Emerson College premieres its production of Mother Hicks

Media contact: Carole McFall, 617-824-8415,


Emerson College’s production of Mother Hicks kicks off a collaborative presentation of Suzan Zeder’s Ware Trilogy with Wheelock Family Theatre and Central Square Theater

Each organization will host one of the plays in the trilogy between Feb. 28 and April 12, and all the productions will be American Sign Language-performed—

BOSTON, MA (February 26, 2015)—On Saturday, February 28, Emerson Stage, the producing organization of Emerson College’s Performing Arts Department, premieres its production of Mother Hicks—the first play in Suzan Zeder’s Ware Trilogy, which follows the story of a young deaf man named Tuc as he searches for community, understanding, and a place to call home.

Emerson College, Wheelock Family Theatre, and Central Square Theater have partnered to bring the Ware Trilogy to school groups and public audiences in its entirety. It’s the first time that the three plays have been produced at the same time and available to see in sequence. Set in the small town of Ware, Illinois, each of the stories will be “shadow interpreted” throughout: an English-speaking actor performs his or her lines and is “shadowed” by a separate actor, who is interpreting the lines into American Sign Language (ASL).  All performances will be open-captioned as well.

With the exception of local deaf actor Elbert Joseph, who plays the character of Tuc in all three productions, the cast of Mother Hicks is made up of Emerson College students, majoring in Performing Arts and with a curricular and social interest in Deaf culture. Some of the students are minoring in Hearing and Deafness through the College’s Communication Disorders Department.

“The arts have the ability to connect communities through shared experiences, so I’m very excited that we’re bringing this ASL-bilingual presentation to Boston audiences,” said Emerson Senior Distinguished Producing Director-in-Residence Benny Ambush. “It’s been an ambitious and very rewarding project, providing our students an opportunity to learn first-hand how to present an ASL-performed production and to collaborate across departments internally as well as externally, with our arts colleagues at Wheelock Family Theatre and Central Square Theater,” he said.

Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Mother Hicks shows Saturday, February 28, at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 1, at 2:00 pm (school group showings February 26 and 27) at Emerson’s Paramount MainStage, 559 Washington Street, Boston. Tickets: $20, $15 for students and seniors, and $10 for the Emerson community and children under 16. To purchase tickets online visit, stop by in person at any Emerson College box office, or call 617-824-8000.

Following the showing of Mother Hicks at Emerson College’s Paramount MainStage, the Wheelock Family Theatre production of The Taste of Sunrise (March 13–22) explores the cultural complexities of deafness as Tuc is introduced to sign language. Students from the Horace Mann School for the Deaf will take part in the production, which will be the largest cast in the trilogy. The Ware Trilogy wraps up with Central Square Theater’s production of The Edge of Peace (April 3–12), which has Tuc considering an offer to leave home, where he is valued and respected, to join a Deaf community. The trilogy spans key moments in American history, from the Great Depression to World War II. 

For audience members who miss one of the shows in the trilogy, a five-minute recap video of each production will be available online at the trilogy website:

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,750 undergraduates and 750 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. For more information, visit                                                                                                                        

About Emerson Stage        

 Emerson Stage is the producing organization of the Department of Performing Arts at Emerson College. Onstage and backstage, students learn the tools and gain hands-on experience to become the next generation of theater artists. Student actors, designers, stage managers, technicians, and educators work side by side with faculty, professional staff, and visiting artists to perfect their skills and deepen their understanding for their craft and the role that theater plays in enriching our culture and community. The Emerson Stage 2014–2015 season includes eight public productions. For more information, visit the website.

About Central Square Theater                                                                                                                                

Central Square Theater is a state-of-the-art theatrical arts facility where audiences find, under one roof, the distinctive repertoires of two award-winning, professional companies, The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theater, as well as collaborative projects drawing on their creative synergy. As the first permanent home for both theater companies, Central Square Theater is a vibrant hub of theatrical, educational, and social activity, where artists and audiences come together to create theater vital to the community. For more information, visit

About Wheelock Family Theatre                                                                                                                    

Wheelock Family Theatre, a professional AEA theater, is committed to quality family engagement, inclusiveness, and education. The season includes four mainstage productions: usually a family musical, a children’s play appealing to all ages, a drama or comedy appealing to older children and teens, and a holiday show. For more information, visit

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