Good afternoon! My name is Lauren Romagnano and I will be detailing this afternoon's lunch session focused on Sign Language Interpretations led by Lindsey Snyder and Jill Radberry. Snyder is very excited to be able to continue on the dialogues that have opened this week, including her own ASL speech yesterday and the gestures workshop held just moments ago. Snyder comments that while ASL is generally focused on the hand, it can be limited in gesture. ASL gestures includes things beyond the hand, such as facial grammar and the body's physicality within signs. Gesture and ASL are very distinct within performance and American Sign Language is it's own distinct language.
Snyder plans to show a series of videos detailing the distinctions between ASL performances and integrated signing and speaking performances. Her first clip is of Hamlet and showcases a performance where the Ghost of King Hamlet is visible on by his signing hands, thereby emphasizing the language. Her next clip of Richard III features a Richard whose only deformity is that he is a man who is deaf. The clip examines his opening soliloquy that features a simultaneous voicing of the lines in addition to the signs, an example of an integrated performance. Next, Snyder discusses her trip to the Globe where actors were given one day to translate parts of Macbeth in order to explain the show prior to seeing it. This performance focused on the distinction between signs and gestures. Her final clip is of Love's Labours Lost and the linguistic liberties of a show with no translations for the hearing community, but instead a translator for the Russian Muscovites.
Snyder turns the stage over to Radberry who explains her current project: a production of Romeo and Juliet featuring non-actors creating a show by and for the Deaf/Blind community. This performance is being funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and will go up next summer. She states that the current project is working to retain the poetic elements of the language through the physical poetry of tactile language.
Snyder and Radberry next answer questions from audience members to continue the conversation. They discuss current gesture and ASL theatres, such as Synetic Theater and Gallaudet's Faction of Fools. Synder and Radbery also address the use of music in theatre for the deaf stating that, though the music is loud to those in the hearing community, those from the deaf community use the heavy bass vibrations to enjoy musical additions. Though, Snyder comments, music is sometimes used to comfort those from the hearing community during a show of otherwise silence. Next the duo address the politics of the deaf and hearing theatres. The conversation continues with questions about differences between sign languages, the work needed in terms of creating comedy and rhymes, and how dialects can affect or enhance a performance. Ultimately, Snyder and Radberry encourage everyone to reach out, visit, study, and participate in the conversations and performances of Shakespeare in ASL.