I recently saw A CHORUS LINE at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on Sunday June 21 (the touring show was in town).
First, the ASL section was moved from its usual house left (or stage right for those who think in actors' terms) to house right. Why? The stairs leading to the stage (established for the character of the director for ease access during the show) were put there, which would have limited the space for the interpreters.
The performance itself was not full - and I moved from my seat in row C to row A (right smack in front of the interpreters with excellent sightlines of the stage). There were four Deaf people in attendance, I believe (a nice change from the usual two regulars, though I would like to see the number increase. Any ideas? Suggestions?)
The lowdown on the interpreters:
I did find myself watching one interpreter more frequently than the other one - due to her extensive background experience in the performing arts. Even though she is one of the champ interpreters in the Twin Cities area and deserves my utmost respect, I still find it honoring that she asked for my advice/mentoring which I provided a few days before the show. Shows that professionals can and know how to work together to make the show 'go on'!)
The other interpreter, she did well with the monologues/dialogues, (though she needs to focus on improving her facial expressions and character development); but once the music started up for the song-and-dance combinations, that is an area that she needs to work on.
Good interpreters focus on not only the mechanics, but the theatrics of their craft. This is one of the factors that sets performing arts interpreting apart from regular or acadmeic interpreting.
Songs that translated well from this performance include:
"At the Ballet"
"Hello Twelve. Hello Thirteen. Hello Love."
"Dance Ten, Looks Three"
I was a bit disappointed with the delivery/translation of "One" (the one song that connects itself to the message of A CHORUS LINE - and if nothing else, it's the ONE song that people remember and associate with this musical).
The cast themselves were phenemonal - and bonus: they were easy to understand (through hearing) which is a pro for those who enjoy both hearing the voices and seeing the sign language interpretation at the same time (such as myself).
Did the switch of the ASL section improve the visuals for this show? Yes! Due to the configuration of the set, the light panel was situated stage right (house left) with the chorus line standing diagonally directly oppsite. From our seats house right (stage left), we could see both the line and the light panel (which changed colors to corresponding songs). If we sat on the other side (the usual side), the light panel would be nearly invisible to us. No problems with sightlines here - we had a fantastic view of both the stage and the interpreters!
1. Readers can follow us on Twitter now! See the side column for the link to follow!
2. For musical theater enthustatists, the DVD of CHESS (in concert at the Royal Albert Hall) is subtitled (not closed-captioned).
3. We have added 30 video shorts from "Les Miserables: in Concert" to our Playlists on YouTube (since many of the VHS copies in local libraries and such are not captioned).
4. The captioning team and myself are in the progress of adding captions to "Show Business: The Road to Broadway" (13 videos) since the original DVD is not captioned and failed attempts to contact the people only fueled our urge to add captions to this documentary.
5. Last but not least, the author of this blog has been crowned Miss Deaf Minnesota 2009-2011. My platform was on "Advocacy for Access to the Arts" (not surprising?) and Artistic Expression: "Defying Gravity" from WICKED.
Stay tuned for updates!