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Fourteen Hundred Students to See Mummenschanz’s “Next” at U

March 19, 2003 — Deaf students from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB), along with other hearing-impaired groups from throughout the Wasatch Front, will gather at the University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall Wednesday, March 26, to experience a show that combines mime, theatre and puppetry. Performed with no music or dialogue by the Swiss touring group Mummenschanz, “Next” employs outrageous masks and exaggerated illusions and costuming. The private lecture and performance will begin at 10:30 a.m. (Public evening performances will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.) Fourteen hundred students, elementary- to college-age, are scheduled to attend the event. Students from the U’s Special Education Department will be in attendance and the USDB will provide interpreters for the event.

Mummenschanz (pronounced moo-men-schauntz) is roughly interpreted as “masquerade.” The name comes from a term used to describe medieval Swiss soldiers who wore masks to hide their reactions from opponents. Mummenschanz was founded in 1972 and has spent 30 years touring the world.

In addition to teaching students reading, writing, math and communication skills, the USDB, which serves more than 1,650 students from Logan to St. George, attempts to instill in its students an appreciation for the fine arts.

Steve Noyce, USDB Salt Lake City director, commented, “We are thrilled that our students have this opportunity. It’s rare to have a group that is so well suited to our needs. Our students work so hard in school, it’s nice they can break from studying to be entertained in this way.”

Carol Syroid, principal of Mill Creek Elementary, a USDB school that will be attending the event, expressed her students’ enthusiasm. “We have had parents calling to ask if they could attend the event with their children. Everyone is so excited. After hearing about the field trip, all of our students, not just the hearing-impaired, are really anxious to go.”

Mummenschanz will be performing at Kingsbury Hall March 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the shows may be obtained by calling 801-581-7100 or 801-355-ARTS. U of U and group discounts are available. For more information call 801-581-7100.