I liked the show. My very first Shakespeare play which is not anywhere near my favorite and I didn’t know a lot of what was said! Still, I enjoyed it including the lecture beforehand. It was very full and had interpreters. The director, Paula (a deaf woman), the writer, Andrew (hearing), and the translator, Katie spoke about taking LLL from spoken English to British Sign Language. Most importantly, they found BSL equivalents for the humour of the play favoring meaning over a strict translation of the text since some things were just not funny in BSL. While some passages were taken out/shortened, others were lengthened so that the play retained the same number of pages (~106). The music in the play (very important to the hearing audience) was written by someone hearing after the script was finished so the BSL would not go along with the music but rather the music went with the BSL.
The play: There were only 10 actors so some parts were doubled – mostly smaller roles and the actors changed one piece of their costume to change character. There was a lot of more physical humor because of the nature of the production. It was interesting to see the use of props since the actor would stop to read a letter and then hand it to someone else so they could sign – makes sense but not something ever needed when doing a spoken production. The best part of the play was the last bit – the poem Armando recites titled Summer and Winter. It’s a good bit of Shakespeare to begin with, but this was great. All the actors were on stage as usual but they were all spaced out so when he recited in sign, a few would join in with their own signs – representing what he was saying but slightly varied. Then as he progressed more joined until they were all moving in the middle of the poem and then they all stopped except Armando (because in the middle, the season reaches winter). Then they slowly joined in again as Armando speaks of the hope despite winter, but he finished the poem individually. This means the poem was significantly longer than usually – it’s about 16 lines spoken but took 5 minutes or more in sign. All of this was accompanied by music (5 musicians were on stage throughout the play – they interacted with the characters at points as well – silently of course!)
I’ll post more tomorrow .. especially about London itself.