Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Input Please

About 10 years ago.......

I was that friend. I was one of the only friends in my circle that had a child. The result was everyone wanted to take part in his life. At times perhaps our focus was a wee bit extreme.

Before we had children we would host elaborate dinner parties. I would spend the day shopping and preparing food for my friends. Only the freshest most exotic ingredients would do and only the most complicated dishes would be set at my table. The place settings were carefully orchestrated and the beverages served were chosen by course. The conversation would at times make a sailor blush. Often satiated from a good meal we would hit the town. Often myself crammed into 4" heels with ridiculous attention to handbag and excessive accessory choices. I was hardly the candidate for mother of the year.

Along came my son and with him an intense Passion and Love. Our dinner parties continued but the Crystal was slowly replaced with cheap glass and a sipee cup. Instead of venturing out into the Hollywood night we would stay anchored to our home and any friends left would be hostage to ......


This was ritual we started when we did some research about literacy and deaf children but was so much fun we often forgot the purpose. Every night we could manage we would act out stories as a family. One way to internalize the concept of story, beginning, middle and end , was to act out the story after you read it then write a story together based on the concept. On any given night friends would become the wolf or pig in a favorite classic tale. They would shed their designer shoes and prance about like a princess in distress. These home plays laid the foundation for my son's love of narrative.

I look back and wonder why they did this with us. I can't answer that but I do know my son loves to read. He also uses reading to get information when hearing people don't inform him.


Well my son was cast in a dinner theater production. He is much younger than they company usually allows and they are making an exception to the rule because he is so passionate and gets the style. I know it is a privilege that he is in the company.

I asked if there was a night his deaf friends could come watch. The director said maybe every night because he is acting.

Here is my question to deaf actors,

It is a Cuban improv theater form. They have changed it from theater in the round for my son to 3/4. The actors have options for response to lines but only get them the night of performance. The other actors will respond to what is tossed at random. How do we make this accessible to deaf people? There is no way for interprters to rehearse.

Much thanks for help

A very confused mama

A little input please......


  1. Sounds like an improv where acting is spontaneous and unrehearsed...always a tough assignment for interpreters. Some interpreters specialize in dramatic productions and have experience with improvs, especially if they have been watching the rehearsals all along.

  2. I would suggest getting in touch with Deaf West Theatre or CJ Jones to ask for input or act as Sign Masters/Consultants for the interpreters. If time is short, make sure that the interpreters hired for this are the best theatre interpreters in all of California! ;) And the Deaf people should sit in one section so that they can see the interpreter at all times. The theatre where I teach is 3/4 also and I've performed there as well as watch shows. In one section, they take the very front seats and turned them around for the interpreters to sit in. The row in front of them is empty and the Deaf people sit in the rows behind that. It works pretty well. Hope you can work it out! =)

  3. Thanks for the input! Keri we moved to Washington but I am tempted to contact Deaf West fo advice. My big concran is the school is going way beyond our expectations all around and I am not sure how to approach this. My deaf friend here who worked for Deaf West laughed with me last week saying we would need 6 interpreters for each preformance!

  4. Ah, Washington! Perfect! Because Billy Seago is there and is a well-known actor and Sign Master. He also does a Children's Theatre gig every summer. Maybe Hayden would be interested in doing that! Definitely get in touch with Billy. If you need his contact info, I can get it from someone for you.