Interpreting The Taste of Sunrise @ Florida State College at Jacksonville

Interpreting The Taste of Sunrise @ Florida State College at Jacksonville


The process of producing the play ‘The Taste of Sunrise’ for those of us who are in the interpreting field, it’s not just a matter of showing up at the day of additions. There’s a lot of work that goes into it even before auditions start. The amount of prep that goes into an interpreting assignment or the background knowledge that we need to have. Personally for me before I even entered the program I was really unaware of even the amount of prep that you need to do as an interpreter. The work truly of an interpreter happens all up here and truly in here and their heart too because you have to connect the mind and your soul. Everything that you’ve learned about life and everything is right there with you where you’re creating that message. And it goes far beyond the hands. This was a play that involved deaf cast members, deaf consultants, interpreters, the drama department of course and it was a play about Deaf culture about Deaf History and so it involved a lot of consultation from the very beginning. So some of the things that we had to consult on were issues that related to history of Deaf culture. The period of the play involved the 1920s which was called the Dark Ages of ASL. This is a period where sign language was looked at as not a language. It was frowned upon and it was outlawed in school. So any person who was signing did it in secret. People that didn’t know anything about ASL or Deaf culture, I think the impact for those individuals was probably the greatest. Because I think so many people really don’t have any idea about deaf people or the language of ASL. Being up on stage and being able to show true ASL, I think that was the best gift throughout this process. We used nine different interpreters to make this event happen. So at any given time we had six interpreters on the stage and three different zones. The thing we have to do as interpreters is find a place to set ourselves that’s visually appropriate for the deaf person to see everybody else and see the interpreter at the same time. So deaf people aren’t getting ‘whiplash’ so to speak from moving around and staring at everybody. One of the professional interpreters that we hired was actually an alumni of our program. I remember a moment sitting there watching her. See I’m gonna get emotional. So I remember sitting there watching her and thinking… I had this girl in ASL 1, like six years ago. So here she was working a a professional interpreter and just tearing it up. I mean just bringing this message to life and what we do here is so powerful and I’m proud of that. That’s such an amazing opportunity to actually be able to work with your professors. You’ve been in the classroom. You talk about the experiences that you will go through what they’ve been through but to actually go through with them. I feel like it created a stronger bond with my professors. And we were able to create a product that I was truly proud of, so for that I’m extremely grateful. The students impressed me at how much work they gave. I expected myself to put all my 110% in. I can’t always guarantee that the students are going to give me that and they did. I do think that we can continue to bring theater to life to our Deaf community. I welcome the opportunity to do that again and look forward to getting support from our community and our college and colleagues to continue to do that because I think it’s a really powerful piece for students as well as the community that we serve. It’s priceless.

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