(Transcript in English)
Do you remember my vlog ‘Nobody’s Perfect Play‘ recently? I had mentioned about my thoughts of speaking English and signing ASL simultaneously in musical theater. I want to hold on that thought because I have interesting information to share on how did the book of ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ become a musical play. So I went ahead to contact Poway Center for the Performing Arts and asked how did they get interested in the play. They became interested in the play because of how the script was written and it’s related to deaf. I told Poway Arts that I need more information but they suggested that I could contact the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour. So I did contacted them and asked if I could set up a phone interview through VRS (video relay service). I gave them a list of questions and they would have to give to another department to review the questions. I asked them if they could send me a email with the answers and they said absolutely sure. They did sent me their answers in their own English and I won’t be translating in ASL. I will show exactly what their answers were. I will sign the questions in ASL.
1. How did the musical Nobody’s Perfect come to the venue in Poway, CA specifically? Please explain the process of selecting tour venues.
“The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour starts selling national tours to presenting houses across the country about one year before the tour is set to launch. Celebrating 17 years on the road this season, we are fortunate that many venues book our shows year after year. Poway Center for the Performing Arts is one of those venues –former Director and CEO, Henry Korn, has booked shows in the past and new Executive Director Michael Rennie continues that tradition with Nobody’s Perfect. By confirming a date early in the routing process, he helped to secure the run of Nobody’s Perfect in California.
Venues across the country that present programming for young audiences contact us if they are interested in having a Kennedy Center show in their space. That’s when the conversation starts and the presenter can look through our touring options to find the right fit for their season.”
-David Kilpatrick, Manager, Theater for Young Audiences on Tour
2. Can you please explain the transition process from merging the book into the musical? How did this musical come to be?
“The process of turning the chapter book Nobody’s Perfect into a musical came when co-book writer Doug Cooney, a longtime friend and colleague, sent a notice that Nobody’s Perfect had just been published. We were interested in doing a piece that lived somehow in the world of persons with disability, and the story seemed perfect for the stage. We secured the rights to the book and commissioned Doug to write script and lyrics. Next we approached composer Debbie Wicks La Puma to write the music and then director Coy Middlebrook came on board, who had worked on Big River and Sleeping Beauty Wakes. They were a great team, and we met for the first time after seeing Sleeping Beauty Wakes at the Taper – if I have an overriding philosophy as a producer, it is: find good people and stay out of their way. The result was, we think, a lovely show.”
-Kim Peter Kovac, Director, Theater for Young Audiences
The answers are satisfaction and I’m sharing them with you all. Now, I’m wondering what my vision of simultaneous and musical is going to be like. I am keeping an open mind about simultaneous and I’m curious how they will process. Hearing actors except for the deaf actress use simultaneous strongly. The deaf actress in the play is “Megan” and she shares her life experience as a deaf person and how she learns how to be with her hearing friends. When Megan’s friends sing in the play, they sign and sing at the same time. The whole play does not use simultaneous. Whew! That’s good thing! Megan uses ASL the whole time and sometimes it’s confusing to watch few hearing actresses to sign and interpret for one another while they sing. I did lose concentrate while the hearing actresses keep switching and taking turns to voice and interpret for one another. I have to adjust my focus to follow the play. Even they do have closed captioned props in two different places. They were too busy for me to follow with captions and interpreters at the same time. Overall, the concept of the play and the story does follows through really well. It was an interesting experience for me.
Do you know what Deaf people love when the music plays? Of course, they love loud (bass) music by feeling the vibration. So, at the play I don’t feel any vibration from the music to feel their spiritual in musical. I’m sure that hearing people do enjoy music and signs completely while Deaf receive half by just look at their sign not music. I suggest to have the theatre to turn the volume up (bass) so, Deaf people can enjoy it more. That would be equal for everyone but it might be too loud for hearing people. It would be a challenge! (chuckle)
Okay, I will have an exciting vlog next about an interview with Tami Santimyer and she is deaf and signs ASL. Her performing role in the play as ‘Megan’. That’s cool! Also, I wanted to say thank to Yvonne Dows and Michael Rennie at Poway Center for the Performing Arts Foundation (POW!) to give me an opportunity to do an interview with her.
See you next vlog!