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Volume 24, Number 10 — November 2017

Deaf Actor Hopes More People Learn To Use Sign Language

Ashley Reuss
Ashley Reuss "signs" as she is interviewed about the play. (Photo by David Crigger|Bristol Herald Courier)

October 12, 2008

*** This story was published Oct. 12, 2008 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. ? Ashley Reuss can't hear the director's calls during productions of "The Firebird"

She is deaf.

"So, I have to make sure that my lines and my timing [are] exact, so I'm watching all the body language of all the people," Reuss said through an interpreter. "I don't want to miss something. So, I have to make sure I remember each line and remember each movement."

A recent arrival to Johnson City from Washington, D.C., Reuss, 24, plays the role of the "Signing Duke" in the current production of The Firebird presented [Oct. 9-12, 2008] at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.

"I think this play is going to be interesting for everyone ? people who are deaf, hard of hearing or involved with the deaf community," Reuss said. "Anyone who is interested in sign language will love it."

So will people who can hear, Reuss promised. "I think it will still be fascinating for them to watch."

Though Reuss has been personally challenged to find a job because she is deaf, she said, "Being deaf is just wonderful. It's not bad. We have a wonderful community."

What Ruess hopes: More people should learn to use sign language.

"Big time, yes," Reuss said. "I would love it if everybody could sign. Visually, it's very easy."

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