After rehearsal, it was clear the anxiety everyone was feeling, in terms of “how were we going to translate this?” And also, not just for the hearing audience. That’s only one half of the equation. We also had to translate for the Deaf audience as well. After careful consideration, we decided to go with this plan:
For the hearing audience, we would supertitle all the spoken dialogue not signed.
For the Deaf audience, we would supertite a combination of “summaries” and only certain lines of dialogue.
It’s the day of the show, y’all! My day started around 9:30am in the theater. A projector was loaded in, hung, and focused. Leah set up slides.
The cast came in around noon. We did a run through w/slides. At the end of the run, I thought to myself “Holy crap, it works!” And that’s the best feeling in the world. To write something with the fear that it could be a complete failure, that the presentation could be a complete train wreck, and then watch the train pull smoothly and safely into the train station, is the best feeling in the world.
There was an excellent crowd tonight. Lots of friendly faces. But more exciting than that was the Deaf community came out. It would’ve been a shame to put in all that work to make it multi-accessible and then have only a hearing audience present for the reading.
The prologue ASL lessons were a big hit with the audience and I think it put them in the right frame of mind.
Got some incredible feedback. Everyone I spoke to said they really loved not having every single line of dialogue super titled. They appreciated getting to focus on watching the signing between the actors. I was happily surprised at how much the hearing audience was able to follow.