So my son is in full swing in his dinner Comedia show. Five shows in and life is good. He is the only Deaf kid in the show and guess what.......the sold out audience never knows he is Deaf.
So I saw the show on Thurs. with some Deaf friends. His grandparents on Friday with his aunt. My husband and daughter have to wait until Friday next week when we go as a family. I have been asked not to review the show until they see it. They never said I couldn't talk about what happens off stage so in true mama style I just have to blog a wee bit about it. Yes I am proud and you may wish to click back at this point because I intend to document my pride for my son. Nothing worse than a mama bragging.
The original script had dialogue for him. My son didn't want to work with an interpreter on stage. He wanted to keep the audience in the magic of the story without distraction. He has seen Deaf stage productions before from Deaf West and had some tools to work with. He worked with the director, explaining how Deaf actors work. His character became a mute. He still delivers the lines but with his movement. It works so well that after the show tonight audience members came to talk to him and he would point to his ear. He tells me it was funny because one person just nodded and started to shout real slow. He is so amused that they just couldn't grasp he was really deaf and not in character. The cast comes up to help him and the audience folks are floored that a deaf kid is in the show. They had no idea.
In the third act he gets on a table and laments that the show doesn't appreciate him. He taught the director to us an actor on stage to voice for him, not the interpreter. He also delivers the lines in nonsense sign. If a Deaf person is watching they would never know he is deaf. He is proud to be Deaf but if he signs ASL the magic is broken. Funny beacause at school he was so in character he leaped on a table during their advertisement and got the staff director in trouble. When he puts on his mask he becomes his character. Uh we don't stand on tables when real folks are eatiing.
I volunteered this morning and tonight and while I was chopping cilantro another mom told us she saw the show yesterday. First she said the Julio character was awesome. Then she said
"That little deaf kid is amazing, he is so funny and so talented I didn."
Me, "That's my son Haddy!"
She was surprised and then went on to gush, gush gush about his work. She already knew about him because her daughter is in his humanities class and talks about him at home. She said if she didn't already know she would of guessed he was hearing. Then other parents start to tell me how their kids love having him at school. The stories just keep going. They were all startled I was his mom, we just met. Not one person I met expects him to talk. Deaf is cool.
While prepping the matinee I was setting tables and one of his interpreters was following me while I worked. We talked about his "Jaberwocky" interpretation. She tells me she has never seen a deaf kid do what he did. He saw the text and asked if it was suppose to make sense. She tells him what the concept is in very broad terms and then he asked her to let him work. His "Jabberwockey" is his own work. She was amazed she didn't need to come up with his work for this. He kicked butt on it.
Later I worked the back of the house dishing food. I saw how the actors had a whole system of communication with him backstage. I saw how they played with him joking about, and how they really liked him. I saw how he lost a hat and the whole company helped him find it. They are mostly High School seniors and they treat him like a little brother. I saw how they all encouraged each other and he was involved. It was not patronizing, he was part of the family. I saw him work out a gag with another actor with no interpreter backstage in pigeon. He had two really qualified interpreters backstage but he didn't need them.
After curtain call at 9:54 I asked the director if he was doing OK . She told me , " I love that kid" , not "I love that deaf kid". His class schedule has changed so now he is in her humanities class during the day. He has a really cool theater mentor.
He had a matinee and a seven o'clock show today. They also had a photo shoot between the shows. My kiddo is gassed out right now at home but he was present and professional all day. He has found his place.
I am so tired, I learned from the other parents tonight that a 12 hour day volunteering is normal on show nights....good news