The Taste of Sunrise

Institute History

  • 1996 Playwrights Lab


Tuc is sweeping. With each stroke of his broom the voices of his present define him by his “disability”: “poor unfortunate man,” “deaf as a fireplug.” The play catapults him back in time to the fever dream on the night he lost his hearing to scarlet fever. It traces his journey through his early life on the farm with his beloved father and his experiences at the deaf school where he learns sign language. After the death of his father he comes to live with Nell Hicks, a midwife who has been exiled by the town to Dug Hill. Along the way, Tuc is befriended by Maizie, a wild child and pregnant teenager who works in the deaf school. Maizie, the hearing child of deaf parents, feels she belongs neither to the deaf nor hearing worlds. The play uses a combination of English and American sign language to tell its story. Its themes are tolerance, family and the importance of language as a means of defining self and connecting to others. Each character speaks and moves in ways that do not fit within the limitations of “mainstream society.” They find themselves and each other in the confluence of languages of the heart and mind.


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]