My son is staying after school to rehearse for the ASL showcase this Friday night. All of the ASL students auditioned for the show. Haddy was a judge. They asked him to join in for the show.
The thing that struck me last year is it is all interpreted music. It was cool but felt odd to me. I am used to going to the deaf school to see ASL poetry. My first instinct was why were they just doing music? A deaf audience might be really bored and it is their language. Then as I really thought about it this year I started to kind of get it. Just like lots of stuff I encounter living with a deaf kid, its complicated. I really don't have a conclusion but just a ramble of thoughts.
Part of learning a language is learning the culture. So I at first imagined the kids learning ASL poetry. By then I imagined what that show would be like. 500 hearing people watching with blank stares having no idea what is going on. ASL poetry is usually not interpreted. 500 people falling asleep in their chairs. The kids would not have a strong enough understanding of the language to really pull it off. There would be no shared experience.
Many deaf people I know enjoy music. Heck, even really deaf Haddy enjoys it when he feels it. The kids incorporate dance, lighting and props so there is a visual element. I guess I still feel a bit odd about it. When I asked Haddy what he thought he said it was boring to watch, all music.
Then I got to thinking this is the one show at the school where they won't have any accessibility issues. Shouldn't it be really as entertaining for the deaf audience? Maybe add more dance and a theater element? I remember the deaf folks who have attended the last two shows Haddy was in really loved the dancing. I don't know. It is just something I think about.
I also got to thinking that when we lived in LA we saw a deaf group preform music at Deaf Expo. It was really cool so maybe my initial reaction was misplaced. I would still like to see a little bit of deaf culture injected but how cool is it we live in a time where there is a whole evening show dedicated to my son's native language? How cool is it that the ASL program has a waiting list?
So what would a deaf native signer want to see that would be accessible to a hearing audience in a way the bridges the two communities by limiting accommodation? What can a deaf person tell me about watching interpreted music? Is there a different way for these kids to showcase the accomplishments?