Reflections On Early RehearsalsKaren Sheridan, Director of Police Deaf Near Far
— Karen Sheridan, Director

The beginning rehearsals for Police Deaf Near Far brought the cast and creative team of designers and interpreters all together in the same room for the first time.  We’ve now had 7 rehearsals.

Four drawings of costume designs for PDNF: Stinger, Chad, Police Officers and "Stamp Out Audism" with a boot symbol
Costume designer, Leslie Little, presented sketches of costume designs for the entire cast, including Stinger (upper left), Chad (upper right) and several police officers (lower left).

Tim Johnston, a Deaf faculty member at Oakland University, joined us the first night.  Tim is on the advisory board for Police Deaf Near Far.  Tim gave a presentation about Deafness and perceptions of Deafness and took questions from the PDNF company.  Danny, from TerpTheatre then shared a bit about how TerpTheatre’s role would be different in this play.  As actor/interpreters in the company, Danny and TerpTheatre’s co-founder will be at every rehearsal.  They introduced the aspects of having interpreters at every rehearsal and how to effectively take advantage that opportunity.  Then I got everyone on their feet for some improvisation.  My goal was to activate their expressive bodies and get their faces moving.

The design team had been working throughout the summer on research, collaboration and finalizing their designs.  The second night, the student and faculty designers presented their work.  Since the play is being presented as if it happened today (it was written in 2000), some of the research is just about being authentic and believable–as police officers, interpreters…  After seeing the set, costume and projection designs, we had a read-through of the play for the company.  It was great to get the play in the room in a 3-dimensional way.  It’ll be even better when Daniel and Garrett join us–can’t wait!

The first read-through of Police Deaf Near Far. The script is on Danny McDougall’s iPad, and director, Karen Sheridan, is making opening remarks before the group reads the play together for the first time.

On the third night, Danny presented information about American Sign Language, Deaf Theatre and Deaf Poetry to the cast.  They had some terrific video examples.  Tim Johnston stopped in again to see what we were up to and added his comments.  I then got them up for more improvisation and ensemble movement work.  Tim stayed longer than he’d planned.  He kept trying to leave but wanted to stay to see what we were doing.

Last week, we had 4 nights to work.  We got to rehearse in the theatre where 2 of the main platforms are already up.  (It’s exciting–as the first show of the season, we get to work in the theatre.  And each night there is more scenery to play on!)  I did a lot of improvisation, moving the company in a direction that might free them up to take chances and explore the characters from their perspective.  On the last night, I started staging–just the first 2 pages.  We found some nice solutions and met some interesting challenges in the space.  I am trying to avoid getting to anything that our guest artists Daniel and Garrett are in, as I want them to have the same input the student actors have.  They fly in from New York and Los Angeles on Sunday.  Wow!  What a cool project this is…

I can’t even predict what kind of adventures are in store!

Labor Day, Sept. 3, 2012

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