Every Act!vated Show is performed in voice and ASL simultaneously.
The actors each sign their own lines so the focus can stay on the action and is not split between interpreter and actor.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing students are also welcome to attend the pre-show workshop acting workshop. They will learn roles along side their hearing peers and perform in the show.
In addition to the show, we offer Hand Play an interactive workshop for anyone who wants to learn and play with American Sign Language (ASL).
Interview with the actors:
Q: Is anyone in your family deaf?
No. We just love the language. We even got married in a church for the Deaf and used ASL to exchange our wedding vows. And our hearing son learned to sign when he was just a few months old, before he could talk even.
Q: Then, why do you use American Sign Language?
Because it's fun. It's an extremely expressive language which lends itself well to stage. Works well backstage too, where you have to stay quiet so the audience won't be distracted.
Q: How did you start using ASL in the shows?
When our hearing friends learned of our interest in American Sign Language (ASL) they would tell us about the time they went to a show and how they enjoyed watching the interpreter. Our deaf friends complained about missing the action because they had to watch the interpreter. So we came up with a solution. To have the actors use both voice and sign language on stage. We love the challenge and feel it has upped the performance level. We are hoping to serve as a bridge between two cultures.
Q: How did you learn ASL?
Well, Kimberly started in grade school, reading books - like The Joy of Signing, and then started taking classes in San Francisco after graduating from high school. When you learn any language you reach a point when you want more than books and classes so, she found a deaf community to hang out with. Dennis started because Kimberly made him, and he always does everything his wife tells him to (yeah right).
Nowadays, we use YouTube videos to keep up to date.
Q: Do you sign in every show, even if everyone in the audience is hearing?
Yes. We want to let everyone know ASL is a language that anyone can use. It helps people learning English know what is going on. And we've discovered that it captivates infants and toddlers, so they are content to watch the show while they drool and coo.
At Your Library
Check out ASL books at your library in the 419 section.