A mash-up of real conversations with directors, artistic directors, casting directors and stage managers of theaters and production companies both large and small:
Theatre/Production Company: We have an interesting issue and we’d like your advice.
Uncle Dale: Ok.
T/PC: We just had auditions for [Insert the name of a production, famous or new] and a girl who is hearing-impaired auditioned.
T/PC: Excuse me?
UD: Deaf, not hearing-impaired. You can say Deaf. You should say Deaf. It’s alright, she knows she’s Deaf.
T/PC: Riiight. But I’m trying to be, you know, culturally sensitive.
UD: Then say Deaf.
T/PC: That doesn’t feel comfortable to me.
UD: Do you say Negro?
UD: Then say Deaf.
T/PC: What? Really?
UD: Yes. Go on to the issue.
T/PC: Well this, um, Deaf? Heh. DEAF girl was, fantastic! Her audition was transformative!
UD: Ok. Waiting for the “issue.”
T/PC: We are not sure what to do.
UD: Cast her?
T/PC: But the character is not written as Deaf. We are not sure how to square casting her with the fact that the script and original story don’t say she is Deaf.
UD: Is there any thing that says she is not Deaf?
UD: Issue resolved. Glad I could help.
(Gave info on finding a good Deaf consultant)
If they understood what they were talking to each other about, but you didn’t, call it a miracle and move on.
Don’t spoil it by overthinking. Let there be magic in the world!
Dear ASL to Spoken-English Students:
Don’t be so easily impressed:
I’ve taught this principle for thirteen years; and,
I picked the video!
Some days you just have to wonder what witch you pissed off.
When a storyteller tells you, “oh don’t worry, I’m telling the same story that you interpreted for last time, remember!
It’s never the same story.
“If you can just do this quick job for us we will work out pay with you later,” or, “Don’t worry we’ll take care of you,” is just a Hearing Client’s way of saying, “we’re not going to pay you.”
It’s kinda a Labor Day Rule.
Thank you Timpfest and the Deseret News.
years ago I was interviewed by The Today Show. A very wise attorney told me, “prepare your talking points before you start. Never rely on the interviewer to give them to you.”
“The Media never prints what you mean, only what you say.”
“No matter how much you enjoy the story (article) someone somewhere will be offended by it.”
With those bits of wisdom in mind:
1. My wife is way ahead of you in pointing out that the article is kinda “The Uncle Dale Show!” It makes me laugh that they found the video of my Biggest Liar win and linked it (that is Chip interpreting);
2. They wanted to do an article about the interpreters, I suggested they interview a person who is Deaf for a cultural perspective (love Kristi!! She is fantastic!) and they still quoted me on Deaf culture (the quote is actually something I told the writer as an idea of the kinds of things to ask Kristi! Oh well);
3) That last paragraph? I was specifically discussing storytellers who use colloquial language (Read it again with that caveat in mind); and,
4) It’s a fun article, it won’t change the world but it may make it more fun.
In the end. I needed a little fun right now. Hope it makes you smile too.