Monday, February 23, 2009

The Two Lydias

Michelle Schaefer (left) who portrays Lydia in Barksdale Theatre’s production of Children of a Lesser God is pictured here with Allison Gompf Clark (right) who played Lydia in the film version of the acclaimed play.

Over the years, the two ladies have become good friends – never dreaming they would have this particular role in common!

We're thrilled that Allison will be attending our ASL Sign Interpreted performance of Children of a Lesser God at Willow Lawn on Sunday, March 8 at 2 PM along with another cast member from the film, Georgia Ann Cline. She will be staying after the performance to meet informally with audience members who would like to say hello.

Tickets for March 8 are available online at these links:
South & West SectionTickets | East Section Tickets for the Hearing Impaired

Allison Gompf Clark

Allison Gompf Clark portrayed ‘Lydia’ in the film version of Children of a Lesser God opposite Marlee Matlin and William Hurt. Allison was born deaf, attending the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) and graduating from Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) in 1985. The acting bug bit Allison when she was just four years old -- while acting in school and at the Temple, the blue eyed actress was hooked the minute she heard those audiences applaud.

In 1985, while a senior at MSSD, Allison was “discovered” by two casting directors searching for a young actress to play Lydia in a groundbreaking film featuring the deaf and hard of hearing community. A few months later, Allison felt like she was in a dream and couldn’t believe that she went to New Brunswick, Canada to join the movie cast of
Children of a Lesser God. To coax the desired performance out of her new young actress, Director Randa Haines told Allison that ”Lydia has to be energetic, wears no makeup, and is the star!”

Allison portrayed Lydia again, in 1988 on stage at Haunted Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania . Nowadays Allison still gets recognized, especially around hearing people who recollect Lydia’s voice.

Allison attended Gallaudet University for two years. She is married to Jamie Clark and has two beautiful teenage daughters, Clarissa and Samara. Currently living in Maryland, Allison continues to show her love of theatre by supporting fellow deaf performers. Her best advice is to “Sign Big and Sign Slow!”

Michelle Schaefer with Landon Nagel in Barksdale's Children of a Lesser God
Photo by Jay Paul

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