Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Poodle skirt and saddle shoes
We terp in character. And, when we can, in costume. Ryan got a leather jacket and rolled up his jeans ("Why was this ever considered cool?") I borrowed a poodle skirt (from a Tap Pup, from the Jailhouse Rock number) and wore my black and whites. Don't we look suitably fifties?
CVHS puts on a show that is beyond high school level. It is beyond community theater level. It is literally professional-grade theater. And these kids are... well, kids! For example, Stockard Channing was 33 when she was Rizzo in the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John movie version. The CVHS Rizzo was a freshman, which means she's, what, 13? 14? And she was Rizzo. (Fwiw, I had the thought this week that I should stop introducing myself as Lisa and be Mrs Swope when I'm at CV.) You have to really plan ahead to get tickets to a CV musical. The community knows they're phenomenal. This year the tickets went on sale in 2 1/2 months ago and were sold out in two days. TWO DAYS. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday matinee. That's two more shows than they did the first year I terped the musical. It's a blessing that they open up their final dress rehearsal to the senior centers in the area and let us bring our Deaf and Hard of Hearing friends, and those who support interpreted theater.
Here's some poorly taped rehearsal video of my favorite piece, Greased Lightning. It's video of onstage, not of us. And it can't hope to capture the energy and excitement of the song. But let me point out that the coolest moves were the chain pushups (2:02) (in the interpreted show they got mid-song applause) and the running lights (2:22). They unfortunately don't display well from this angle but they were utterly amazing live.
Every year I'm overwhelmed by the response from the audience, both those who come specifically to support interpreted theater, and also from those who don't know in advance that we'll be interpreting but get so sucked in that they specifically come up to us afterwards and say that they were watching us too. This year even some of the kids said that when they were in the wings they would watch us. I invited them to ASL social.
One piece of note:
We talked to the head usher and communicated with the JROTC ushering crew so they would be aware of the Deaf section. Most of the first and last rows of seats were pulled out to accomodate wheelchairs. Between the pit and the front row was walker parking. But by the time the walkers were parked two deep the whole width of the theater the head usher was stressing. "Can I park more walkers here?" "Can I seat wheelchairs in the spaces in front of your section?" We kept pushing back. "They need sight line!" "That's where we're standing to interpret!" She even asked us if they could see us if we stood in the aisle to terp instead of where we had staked out. Ummm... no. The lighting crew had established that for us. We'd asked for a slightly wider lit area, knowing that we sign BIG when we get into it. And it's kind of important to see the terp. Ryan laughingly said that if we stood in the aisle we could do hands-on-hands deaf-blind interpreting. That's challenging on the best of days, in the best of times.
Eventually, there were three full rows of walkers parked up front. It was kind of ridiculous. I compared it to visiting an Asian home: whoever goes home first has their pick of "Which shoes do I like best and want to go home with?", regardless of what shoes they came in wearing. (Not really. But I still think it. And for whatever reason, I love taking photos of foyers filled with guests' shoes.) Every single wheelchair space was filled, including three in front of our Deaf, albeit the far end of the row so they weren't obscuring anyone's view. Although we told them that we would be obstructing theirs. (By the end of the show they were enjoying watching us!)
And the head usher's parting words to me were, "I didn't get to see the whole show. But I saw the end of it. And I understand why you needed light."
Well, if every day you learn something, it's a great day.