|ASL Midsummer Night's Dream (Ken Holmes)|
ASL Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sound Theatre Company
(at 12th Avenue Arts)
Through May 12, 2018
Our city owes Sound Theatre Company a huge THANK YOU for taking on and mastering this special effort to translate Shakespeare into ASL and make an inclusive ASL+spoken event! If you know anyone from 6 to 96 who is hearing impaired or deaf and has had a hard time seeing only-spoken theatrical events, you MUST tell them to come to this show! It is completely magical in every sense.
Co-directed by theatrical master Howie Seago, who worked through the translation of ancient English poetry to ASL with co-director Teresa Thuman, the production has equal numbers of hearing and deaf actors and every word is both signed and spoken. Deaf audience members are prioritized for the best-sighted seats and the sound design (by Michael Owcharuk) deliberately uses very loud bass hum to allow deaf audience members to feel it, as well.
What is clear from the ASL beginning, not every moment of the play is for you, majority hearing audience member. Aspects of the play are meant for those who sign, especially the beginning, which is a sort of choreo/ASL moment of story-telling. It sets the tone and the stage for what is to come.