Anna Wyatt and Gillian Cooper will be acting the role of Roberta for Police Deaf Near Far. We took an opportunity to sit down with them last week, just before Daniel Durant and Garrett Zuercher arrived, and talk to them about learning sign language for the show.
During the pre-production planning period for Police Deaf Near Far, the members of TerpTheatre translated all of the lines that the character Roberta does not speak, but rather uses American Sign Language to produce during the show. Spear-headed by TerpTheatre’s senior staff, each of the lines were written out in an English to ASL-gloss translation and then video recorded for Anna and Gillian to view and begin practicing. They also held periodic meetings via Skype to help clean and give feedback on the clarity and fluidity of their signs. Some of Roberta’s lines in the show are integrally tied to Stinger’s, and for those the team waited for Daniel’s translations so that there are consistent uses of signs and their meanings throughout the show.
Anna and Gillian are both doing a great job learning an entirely different set of skills that neither of them had any previous exposure to before. Check out the vlog and then come see the show!
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.