Reading a script for the first time can be very daunting. In the case of the upcoming Bells Are Ringing produced by Oakland University – it was an absolute treat.
First glimpses: Boy, do we have our work cut out for us! Bells Are Ringing is fantastically funny show with A LOT going on.
The main character, Ella, who works at a phone answering service called Susanswerphone, is very outgoing and can’t help but meddle in other peoples lives (to help them, of course!). As I read the script I couldn’t help but think… The biggest challenge for James Cech and I (James is the other performing interpreter) will be trying to find an interesting way of showing voices of characters that are being spoken over the phone. This occurs in a significant portion of the show… So if that voice is coming from off-stage somewhere we’re going to have to think of something pretty clever to show that those voices are coming from the phone and not necessarily from other people on the stage.
A second challenge for us is that there are a couple of songs in this show that have lyrics full of what I would call… rhetoric.
What will we do with “It’s A Simple Little System” a song that is comprised, basically, of a repeating the names of musical composers.
What do we do with these names? We obviously can’t fingerspell them all. So we will need to create an interesting way of how to visual perform the point of the song. Could we use ASL poetry? Could we use some kind of rhyming with handshapes? How do we make this song meaningful for the Deaf audience?
We will see.
I think it’s an enchanting story.
Ella, the main character, falls in love with Jeff Moss who is struggling with his work as a writer when Ella sneaks into his apartment and ends up inspiring him. But during their first meeting Ella gives Jeff a fake name. (It will be our job to make sure that with all of her aliases that everyone knows we still mean Ella.) So Jeff is falling-in-love with someone who isn’t real.
So what does Ella do?
AND the whole time the cops are after the girls at Susanswerphone because they think the answering service is a front for a non-reputable business venture.
With multiple interlacing plot lines and fun characters, James and I will stretch our brains to sort out all of the trouble happening as Bells Are Ringing.
Click here for show details.
Watch the above entry as a vlog! [close captioned!]
Danny McDougall, PhD, CSC — “Dr. Danny” — owns and manages TerpTheatre. Since 1986, he has interpreted in hundreds of plays, musicals and other performances on stage – most in the shadowed style. He teaches and lectures on the theory and practice of theatre interpreting. Danny is the chair of Sign Language Studies at Madonna University, and holds a PhD in Translation and Interpretation from Heriot-Watt University – where his dissertation explored the relationship between space and meaning during interpreted theatre performances.