Sign of Love...

By Jeff Nault

Summary

The arrival of a new girl to the high school basketball team on transfer from another school creates mixed feelings when it is discovered she is deaf.

Characters

Girls-
Nikki, Beth, Lisa, Chris, Shannon, Erin

Guys-
BJ, Kevin, Steve, Andrew
Coach
Youth Pastor

Script

Scene 1

(Junior girls basketball team runs onto the court (stage right). Coach follows. The team runs through a series of floor drills using one basketball. They call out each otherís names as they mime basketball skills. Nikki comes in from stage left. Coach waves her over.)

Coach.( blows whistle).Girls, would you all come in for a minute. Hold the ball...come in please.

(The team gathers.)

Coach. I want you all to meet Nikki. Nikki is a transfer from Loyalist high. She's played on the team there for two years. I've seen her in action. She has a great outside shot, hits nine for ten at the foul line and loves to crash the boards. Nikki played on the provincial summer team that went to Edmonton! Oh yeah, in case I forget...Nikki is deaf. She reads lips really well. So when you speak to her, make sure she can see your lips. Please introduce yourselves."

Erin. Hi Nikki, I'm Erin.

Chris. I'm Chris!

(Nikki shakes each girls hand, nodding her head as the girls introduce themselves.)

( Beth is whispering and laughing with Shannon. She stops long enough to shake hands.)

Shannon. Can Nikki talk?

Coach. Good question. The short answer is no. We learn to speak by hearing people around us speak. If we've never heard anyone speak....we don't know what speech sounds like, or any other noise for that matter. So, no, Nikki doesn't speak...but she communicates in other ways, like sign language.

Beth. How is Nikki going to hear the plays, like when we're running a pick play or something?

Coach. OK...how about learning some sign language... or just holding a hand up in the air (she demonstrates...holds up 2 fingers) (Beth is not convinced...she tilts her head and rolls her eyes.)

Lisa. Yeah, that would work!

Coach. You already know some sign language, don't you?

Erin. We do?

Coach. When the ref blows the whistle and does this (sign travelling)

Group. Travelling!

Coach. And this (sign up and down)

Group. Up and down!

Chris. My baseball coach uses sign language that only my team understands (She strokes her arm and pulls her ear)

Shannon. So does my brother.( She slouches and drags herself across the floor. Her hands stuck in imaginary pockets.) He is so annoying!

Lisa. Yeah, so does my mom.( She puts her hands on her hips, and shakes her finger in the air)

Coach. I guess you'd call that body language. Nikki communicates using American Sign Language, and she writes notes if she has to. She has a TA in class to translate for her. Her language is a distinct, and very precise language. It's quite amazing!

Beth. I just hope she can learn 'our' language, I mean the plays and stuff.

Coach.(looks at clipboard) OK, lets run through some drills! ( Coach throws up a jump ball to Chris and Shannon. It's tipped back and a mime scrimmage begins with Nikki throwing an imaginary two pointer. )

Girls. Wow, right on. OK

Coach. Big game this week...work hard...around the track five times and that's it...go..

(Passing and shooting continues with Beth sinking a shot before they exit. The scrimmage heads off stage right...dribbling and passing.)

Scene 2

(BJ goes out on stage and silently mimes a locker routine(stage left). Andrew comes in from stage left with book bag.)

Andrew. There should be a law against coming to school before 10 in the morning.

(Steve comes in from stage left with a gym bag.)

Steve. There otta be a law against coming to school!

Andrew. Hey Steve, what are you doing?

Steve. Checking out the scene!

Andrew. Have you 'seen' the new girl...I think she's from Kingston. My sister met her at her basketball practise yesterday. She's deaf.

Steve. What?

Andrew. That new girl from Kingston, I said she's deaf.

Steve. Eh?

Andrew.Ha ha ha very funny....I guess she lip reads really well and knows sign language.

Steve.Cool! I gotta go ..Parson's said if I didn't get my math assignment in before nine this morning, he wouldn't count it on the final.

( He exits stage right)(Andrew stays and mimes the locker routine)He is joined by BJ, who mimes a locker routine. Beth, Shannon, Lisa, and Chris come in from stage left and go to imaginary lockers and mime a locker routine. Nikki comes in (stage left), walks by to her locker stage right.)

Beth.(looks at Nikki, then talks to Shannon, Lisa and Chris) Nikki's pretty tricky on the court. Get it? Tricky Nikki.

Girls. Yeah, ha,ha.

Beth. And she's really fast...quicky Nikki?

Shannon.Why do they call people who are deaf, deaf and dumb?

Lisa. I'm not gonna answer that one

Chris. This locker is getting so full of junk, I think I'm going to have a garage sale!

Beth and Shannon move to centre stage and up front.

Beth. (as she hands Shannon a note) Don't read this til you get to class, it's really important...promise?

Shannon. OK..(Shannon sticks the note in her books)

Beth. Promise!

Shannon. OK!

Beth and Shannon return to lockers.

Beth. Ya, she thinks she's a pretty good basketball player...she couldn't hear when we called out the plays, and I'm not about to hold my fingers up in the air (she demonstrates, holding up her hands shaking them like the hokey pokey) (The girls yuck it up)

(The note drops out of Shannon's books onto the floor.)

Chris. I think Nikki is an awesome basketball player, she can really get up in the air!

Lisa. She's tough. She's a straight ahead player.

Chris. Yeah and a great shot, she drained about five in a row. You couldn't hear the ball swish through the hoop.

(They look at each other....)

Lisa. Let's go and talk to her. It must be hard coming to a new school...and not have any friends to talk to... like, nobody knows sign language.

Chris. I think she's in my history class first period.

(They start in her direction....she seems to be waiting for them. Beth intercepts. She whispers animatedly to the two girls and laughs out loud. She looks at Nikki.)

Andrew. Was that the bell ?

(The kids head off (stage left), chattering, leaving Nikki alone at her locker She quickly closes her locker when she sees them leaving and follows in the direction of the group.)

(Nikki finds the note and reads it.)

(Lights dim, spotlight on Nikki with her back to audience. She sings 'Sometimes')

Sometimes

Sometimes no matter how hard that I try
I don't understand a word that they say,
Sometimes no matter how hard that I cry
I don't understand why I'm this way.

Chorus:
In these two eyes sparkle colours, the world I see,
Two feet to walk on the path without fear.
I feel vibrations that tingle inside of me,
But these two ears only silence they hear.

Sometimes I keep all my feelings inside,
Sometimes it seems so unfair.
I want to reach out, real friends to find,
So hard the courage to share.

Chorus:
In these two eyes sparkle colours, the world I see,
Two feet to walk on the path without fear.
I feel vibrations that tingle inside of me,
But these two ears only silence they hear.

Yet in my solitude one Voice I hear
Calling through the silence tenderly.
Jesus my Saviour, this one Voice so clear,
And He said, come and follow me.
Chorus 2:
This one thing I'm sure of , I hear His voice of love
It has no limits and no boundaries
Not stopped by my deaf ears, It pierces all my fears
I hear the Lords voice, He's speaking to me,
I hear my Saviour's voice calling to me.

(Nikki exits stage left.)

Scene 3- Youth group meeting

(Props-chairs against back wall)

(The group of Shannon, Lisa, Chris Steve,, BJ, Kevin, Erin, Andrew and Beth come in from stage Right.)

Kevin. Remember at youth group meeting last week? That friend of Lisa's was supposedly going to juvie and her father ...

Steve. Oh.,ah, Hi Pastor Glen...

(Pastor and Nikki come in from stage Left.)

Pastor. Hi gang.

Group. Hi pastor

Pastor. Please have a seat...Do you kids know Nikki?. Nikki is deaf and she has just moved to the area from Kingston. Some of you who have been with the youth group for awhile may remember her from summer camp a couple of years ago...

Andrew. Hey Nikki!

Chris. Hi again Nikki. ( she speaks looking directly at Nikki and pronounces each word clearly)

Erin. She reads lips really well!

(The group responds warmly ). Beth and Shannon are sitting on stage left. They hold back. Pastor gives them a questioning look.)

Beth. We already met her at basketball practise last night.

Pastor. OK. It's good to see you tonight. I hope you've had an excellent week...let's begin our evening singing a song you all know... (He begins to sing) 'Lord I lift your name on high'

(Nikki has been watching his lips intently. He stops singing and speaks to her directly.)

Pastor. We're going to sing a song called 'Lord I lift your name on high'.

Nikki. (Nods her head enthusiastically.)

Pastor. (singing) Lord I lift your name on high. Lord I love to sing your praises.

Nikki. (Signs I love to sing your praises. They are amazed and watch with wonder.)

BJ. Whoa, whoa is she singing, like, the same song we are?

Chris. Nikki doesn't sing or speak , she uses sign language.

BJ. That is so amazing! You mean she's signing , like Lord I lift your name on high?

(Nikki takes a clipboard from the Pastor and writes a note, then passes it back to the Pastor.)

Pastor. Nikki is willing to teach us how to sign this song....any takers?

Group. Yeah!

Pastor. OK.

(A group forms around Nikki stage right, where they work at learning the song in silent animation using sign language. Beth moves to stage left. Pastor goes to her.)

Pastor. What's happening Beth? Is there something you want to talk about?

Beth. Pastor Glen, why did God make Nikki deaf?

Pastor. (waiting...)That's a fair question if that's really what's troubling you. I know God takes the things in our lives that are hard, our difficulties and our strife, and applies them for our good. In one sense, Nikki is not deaf.

Beth. Huh?

Pastor. She's not deaf to the word of God. She has heard God speak life to her through His Son. But Beth, what's really troubling you?

Beth. I don't really want to talk about it...(pause) My mom and dad are fighting all the time...

Pastor. That must be really hard. Are you OK?

Beth. I guess so.

Pastor. Beth, God knows what's happening in your life. He knows what you're facing. He will never let you go. Your parents are making decisions that may cause you pain. We will help and protect you in any way we can. Never stop loving them, and praying for them, but understand that you have no blame or responsibility for their actions.

Beth. It's like my dad's not there anymore. I just want things to be like they used to be.

Pastor. It's vital for you to understand this, you have not in any way been a cause for your parents fighting or splitting up. It is not God's will for them to separate, but it is God's plan that you put your love and trust in Him. Beth, I will do everything I can. I will pray for you, and we will pray together. God will protect you and I will help you walk through this turmoil. As the family of God, we will always be there for you. We will support you through this.

Beth. Maybe my mom could talk with you or Pastor V.

Pastor. OK, we'll meet with you and your mom Beth. And we can hook your mom up with a support group in the church, if she would like that.

(Pastor moves towards group.)

Pastor. Maybe the group will demonstrate what they've learned?

(The group gathers, follows Nikki's lead and sings and signs 'Lord, I lift your name on high'. Pastor and Beth move towards the group looking at the sign language.)

Singing Signing

Lord I lift Your name on high Lord I worship you
Lord I love to sing your praises Lord love sing glory
I'm so glad you're in my life Happy my life
I'm so glad you came to save us Happy save us
You came from heaven to earth Come heaven earth
To show the way Show way
From the earth to the cross Earth cross
My debt to pay Debt pay
From the cross to the grave Cross grave
From the grave to the sky Grave sky
Lord I lift Your name on high Lord I worship you

Pastor. That's terrific. You guys are like..the bomb. Ok , I 've got that video set up in the library. We saw the first of the series last week, I have part 2 scheduled for tonight....and after that, some munchies.

Group. Alright, let's go!

(Group exits stage left with excited chatter.)

Scene 4-Lockers in the hall

(Steve comes in from stage left with gym bag and goes to locker Mimes locker routine. Andrew arrives at locker. They stay at the lockers.)

Andrew. Hey Steve, what's your first class?

Steve. Parsons. He said if I didn't get my math assignment in before nine...

Andrew. I know, I know..

Together. He wouldn't count it on the final! (they laugh)

Andrew. Are you going to the game this afternoon.

Steve. Who's playing?

Andrew. Junior girls.

Steve. Yeah, I guess so..if I get my math assignment done...

(Girls come in from stage left in two groups. Beth, Shannon and Lisa go to stage right.)

Shannon. I'm so excited about the game today. What if we lose?

Beth. Central haven't lost a game all season....

Lisa. If you and Nikki can control their centre, I think her name is Marla....we may have a chance.

Beth. We haven't actually seen Nikki in a game yet...I hope she's as good as the Coach thinks she is.

(Erin and Chris go to stage left.)

Erin.(uptalk) You know the sign language we learned last night...that was so cool... you know what we can do, we can learn sign language and none of the guys will understand it and we can talk in class and the teacher won't hear us and...

(Kevin enters stage left.)

Chris. How do you say stuck up? (she motions to Kevin and lifts her nose in the air)

Kevin. (Walking by, not paying attention) Hey, what did I do?

(He goes to Steve and Andrew's. Nikki comes on from stage right. Beth moves to centre stage. Nikki approaches Beth and hands her the note she found in the hallway. Nikki returns to locker.)

Beth. (turns to Shannon and asks ) Did you give her my note?

Shannon. Is that the note you gave me? I guess I lost it in the hall...anyway I looked for it later and couldn't find it...and...what did it say.

Beth. That my parents are getting a divorce. Oh this is great...now even Nikki knows everything about my life..

Shannon. Look, I'm sorry OK?

(Beth opens the note. She turns it over and reads it... Beth heads off stage left, walking briskly.)

Chris. Where did Beth go?

Shannon. She is majorly upset.. I hope it doesn't, like, affect her game today.

Chris. (looks at watch) Oh boy we're gonna be late for class..

(Nikki closes locker and follows the kids as they exit stage left.)

Scene 5 -Youth group meeting

Props-chairs in a semicircle

(Erin and Lisa come in from stage left. They stand and talk.)

Erin. The game was phenomenal! With like 5 seconds to go on the clock, Nikki makes this steal and sends a pass to Beth and Beth sinks a jump shot at the buzzer. I can't believe we beat them... and by one point!

Lisa.I don't know how we stopped their centre..she usually dominates.

Erin. Beth really worked hard on boxing her out...and then the fast break just killed them. Nikki can really move.

(Erin and Lisa move to stage right. More of the kids come in from stage left. BJ and Chris are attempting to talk to Nikki using halting sign language.)

BJ. Is this the sign for 'friend'?

(Nikki responds signing Yes)

Chris. (signs yes) OK the sign for yes is (she demonstrates) and girl and boy (demonstrates)

BJ. So now we know the sign for girlfriend. Great! (He points at Chris and signs girlfriend followed by a big question mark)

Chris. In your dreams!

(Beth comes in from stage right.)

Beth. (overhears the conversation. She moves toward Nikki) What's the sign for friend?

(Nikki reads her lips and signs friend for her with a questioning look on her face.)

Beth. (Points to Nikki) You are such a good friend (Beth signs friend as she says it and gives Nikki a hug. They embrace for several seconds. Pastor comes in from stage right.)

Pastor. Hey guys and girls.

Group Hey Pastor Glen!

Chris. Did you hear the great news? The awesome news?

Girls. We beat Central by one point!

Pastor. Ahh...victory is sweet

Lisa. Nikki is a real team player...

(Pastor looks at Beth and Nikki who are sitting beside each other.)

Pastor.It looks like there has been another victory today.

(Beth stands up and moves toward Pastor.)

Beth. May I read a note that Nikki gave me...it has really helped me to trust...trust what God has been saying to me. (Beth looks at Nikki)

(Nikki. Nods her approval.)

Beth. (reading the note) Dear Beth, I know that this may be hard coming from me, and it wasn't my intention to know about your personal problems. I can understand that you are hurting, cause I've been hurt before too. Being deaf is not something that I would choose. I've had to accept and grow through my situation. I'm sure of one thing...I'm not alone in my struggle. The Lord is so close I can hear His voice telling me to trust in Him. Just be sure that you know that God loves and cares about you . I know he'll always be there for you , cause he's always been there for me. Love Nikki.

Shannon. Wow. Nikki wrote that? She really does plays with a lot of heart.

Beth. I guess you could say that I've had my ears opened this week. My spiritual ears. I used to know some things about the Lord, but now I've come to know him personally. You guys have been here for me big time. Thank you...and thank you Jesus for coming into my life when I needed you most.

Pastor. I believe the voice of the Lord has spoken.

(Beth and Nikki stand up, move centre stage. All the kids spread out. They sign as Nikki sings (with back to audience)

There is a Redeemer Sign

There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God's own son.

Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.

(Steve sings and all sign)

Jesus my Redeemer, Name above all names Jesus my Redeemer, name above all names

Precious Lamb of God Messiah, O for sinners slain. Precious LambGod Messiah for sinners slain

Chorus: all sing and sign

Thank you O my Father for giving us your Son Thankyou O my Father giving us your Son

And leaving your Spirit til the work on earth is done. Leaving your Spirit til work earth done

(Beth sings and all sign.)

When I stand in glory, I will see His face, When I stand glory, I see face

And there I'll serve my King forever, in that holy place. There serve King forever holy place.

(All sing and sign.)

Thankyou O my Father for giving us your Son Thankyou O my Father giving us your Son

And leaving your Spirit til the work on earth is done. Leaving your Spirit til work earth done

(The kids gather around Beth and Nikki and move offstage left.)

....................................................................................

© Jeff Nault, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: jsnault@superaje.com