It's been an amazing experience to act as a fairy for Peter Quince in Midsummer Night's Dream production in the city of Rochester. About 33 cast members, hearing and deaf/hard of hearing, perform together, using ASL and spoken English, on stage. This kind of two language/two cultures approach has never been done by the Rochester Shakespeare Players before, which it became a historical moment in the city of Rochester's history. Rochester's City newspaper, Democratic and Chronicle, and WXXI Radio informed the community about this event. The crowd came and ended up 500 plus people for the shows. The production is currently running from July 5th all the way to July 19th.
Our ongoing efforts to implement and combine ASL (American Sign Language) and English, then act on stage is a daunting task to take. It has been challenging and great learning experiences for all of the cast members, including myself as well. It's not just language and acting, alone, but along a real live music band on stage with us. We also developed mime skills such as slow-mo running as one example that we actually do on stage. Also, spoken-English cast members was taught to develop speaking skills, using a cork in their mouths and speaking their lines. That was an interesting thing to see and listen. All of these work we put into created a sense of family in a theatrical world, an intense relationship among ourselves that grew from the first day of rehearsals to our ongoing shows this month. For this, I shall never forget and shall cherish every moment. I shall tip my hat to our director, Luane Davis Haggerty, for making this historical production happen and the Rochester Shakespeare Players for allowing this to become possible.