Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat- Part Three

So it is ten minutes before curtain. Over forty people were sitting in the section reserved for folks using the interpreter. I was having a great time catching up with friends when I saw the interpreters.

Down on the floor below the stage sitting in chairs. They must just be resting up for the show I thought. They were on a four inch platform which could not be seen from the reserved seats. Just in case I walked over and asked where they would be working during the show? Here they tell me. CRAP! I run over to a staff person and tell them the problem. If the show started the deaf people would not have any access to the interpreters! I was a wee bit angry as we ran through the school to talk to the director.

He seemed concerned and a bit confused. When I told him they needed to be lit he said he couldn't do that. Well lets just say I got a bit demanding. I was told they would take care of it and that I should go back to my seat.

The show started late but the interpreters were lit and on stage. I am sure
I now have a reputation as a crazy lunatic. Perhaps I am pushy or even ungrateful but for years this kind of thing has happened. I refuse to let my friends sit watching a mute play on my son's birthday. I would have preferred to chat with my friends and just enjoy the show. I hate making a scene but felt I had no choice. Such is life for a mama bear helicopter mom.

The mistake was that there was a mix up and the platform the director wanted was never built. Honest mistake but it should have been corrected before the audience even entered the theater. My advice to anyone working with deaf kids in theater is ask the mom and deaf kid first. I am happy to help and I am an expert on my son.

So everyone had a great time. Haddy's old Deaf acting teacher came and  a really cool friend sent a beautiful lei from Hawaii to the school. Haddy said it was an awesome night and for the first time he could see the applause.


  1. Accessibility is a constant struggle. You sound like a pro! Your son, your family, and your community are truly blessed to have you.

  2. Yikes. I'm glad it worked out in the end! Even though I'm not a mom of Deaf kids, I'm a helicopter when it comes to making plays accessible, being Deaf myself. I'm always on top of the issue way before each show opens on opening night. Perhaps it's time for the school to hire a Sign Master or a Deaf consultant so that these issues won't be a burden for you or Haddy? I know money is an issue but I'm pretty sure that something can be worked out, i.e. a barter system.

  3. Another idea: make sure that the platform happens and is a permanent fixture on the school's stage. Make sure that interpreters are ALWAYS going to interpret from that spot at every show. This is what the university I work at did. They turned around 2 front seats, blocked off the 2nd row of 3 seats and assigned that section for Deaf audience members. Plus, they added a light to light up on the interpreters. This system has worked for several years and is used only for one or two shows for each play. Having a system set up would make future productions easier.

  4. Thanks again for inviting me -- it was an awesome show!

    Also, I love you my friend and the example you set as a mother removing obstacles for her kids so that they can find their way towards their dreams. You ROCK, girlfriend!

  5. I just found your blog, via the deaf teriers face book site. My son Andy goes to WSD and we have met in the past at the family camp in Ellensburg for families with deaf kids. Andy was one of the kids attending your son's performance, on behalf of my son I thank you for taking this on (if I had been there I would have helped you). It does get old though, glad you son got to do his performance and my son got to go to it.

  6. Sammie! Of course I know your family. Andy is in Jayne's cottage right?

    I was sitting just behind Andy at the show. He was very interested in the "Hot Box Dancers". Well poo, yea they were cute girls in a chorus line BUT the idea that the kids were so focused and interested through the whole show amazed me.

    Our Deaf kids need more theater! Soon I hope Haddy will follow up on a scheme to blend the two schools for a physical theater project. I think Andy would love it.

    Thanks for your support!


  7. I wish I had been more pushy about interpreter access especially during really important events like my graduation from an elite college in 2008.
    I knew there would be interpreters but I didn't know that they would be standing infront of the all my wonderful (and hearing) professors blocked my view of the interpreters. As 'the deaf kid' I was probably the ONLY person who needed to see the interpreter but what could I do? I didn't want to interrupt the ceremony. I could hear some of the speech but mostly zoned out. Afterwards my mom asked who the interpreters were for because they were basically invisible.