Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quiet (not really) on the Set

Last week, I was on stage with Wild Swan again--this time as the ASL performer for "Jack and the Beanstalk." I have been working for Wild Swan for about 9 years now, occasionally taking time out to have a baby (though I did do a show for them while I was 7 months pregnant with Liesl. Hey, it's children's theatre.) They are an amazing group of actors, and incredibly compassionate human beings.

Wild Swan Theater is legendary for their commitment for making theater accessible to children of all ages and abilities. Besides providing ASL interpreters/performers in every public production, they also offer backstage touch-tours and audio-description during the performance for the visually impaired. A few years back, one show was even modified to accommodate a deaf-blind patron. Because of their commitment, Wild Swan is fairly popular with the Deaf community. So I can usually count on having Deaf patrons in the audience for at least one performance in each production. But I was incredibly lucky this week: I had Deaf patrons in 4 out of the 5 performances. I know that the hearing kids can get a lot out of having the ASL performers woven into the shows, but it is so much fun to have Deaf kids come up to me after a show and talk to me about what happened during the show, laugh at the jokes, touch the props, give me hugs. I always feel very welcome in Wild Swan shows, and I love interacting with all of the kids (hearing, Deaf, sighted, blind); but when I get these kinds of hugs, and chats flowing from those tiny, pudgy little hands, I feel like I am where I *belong.*

My parents are huge supporters of Wild Swan--my Dad brought his school to their performances every year before he retired--so they were willing and able to watch the girls while I was performing. And they even brought Liesl and Ava to one of the shows, which was geared towards the very young set anyway, so it was perfect for my kids.

I only wish I had a picture of all of our costumes from head to toe--that also included our rainbow-striped knee socks and Converse high-tops in varing colors (mine are turquoise). That Wild Swan costumer...she really has a sense of humor.

With some of the students from Michigan School for the Deaf, having traveled all the way from Flint to see the show.

The MSD kids were much more interested in Milky White, the cow, than me...I guess that's as it should be.

1 comment:

Cortney Ophoff said...

We went to see this when they brought it to our library this weekend - Calvin LOVED it! - and I thought of you. I'm glad to see you were doing this one (even though not when we got to see it) and that you had such a great time :o)