My excuses for not blogging these past months:
- The Holidays
- Stuff going on at work
- Church youth group activities
- Family events galore
- Agent hunting
- My computer addiction
About this last: Once-upon-a-time I used to like Shakespeare. After all, you can’t be literate and admit different, right? And I loved watching “Romeo and Juliet” or “Taming of the Shrew”. Watching is the key word, though. For the last three years I’ve had the honor/stress/trauma of interpreting the annual Bard’s play for our high school’s single deaf student, which is brought to us by the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. What this means is that I spend days/weeks/months prepping for an hour performance. Two years ago it was “Much Ado About Nothing” acted out in western style, which was the hardest of the three. Last year it was “Hamlet” in the style of upscale New York elite. This year it’s an 80′s theme in an artist’s loft for “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
In mid-February I received a copy of the modified play, thankfully pared down from the original 2 to 3 hour performance to 60+ minutes. For the next few weeks I made massive script notations of sign language choices. (Thanks much No Fear Shakespeare at: http://nfs.sparknotes.com) Still, it wasn’t easy. What those literary types love most about good old William, I find daunting when faced with interpreting. Example:
OBERON: “Be thou here again ere the leviathan can swim a league.”
PUCK: “I’ll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes.”
(Real meaning: “Move your butt and get back here ASAP” and Puck’s reply: “I’ll zoom around the whole earth in 40 minutes”. Why couldn’t W.S. just say that? Of course, then he wouldn’t be Shakespeare, would he?)
Once the grueling notations are done, along with Internet research to make sure I know the plot inside and out, then the next phase starts. I watch the movie once or twice. I visit the dress rehearsal of ISF’s version of the play. It’s here that I meet the actors, check out their setting, costumes and style, and just see what it will be like. This year’s version of MSND is manic! It’s hilarious but crazy. Another person in the audience who had learned why I was there leaned over and said to me: “That’s going to be really hard to interpret, isn’t it?” Uh-huh.
Now, with the remaining 3 weeks ahead of me, I am spending all my down-time during, before, and after school, going over the script and practicing the signs. I began doing this April 1st, right after Spring Break, and the time is slipping away.
A few days before the play, I’ll go over the plot and characters in detail with the deaf student I interpret for so he knows what it’s all about. I’ve even drawn up a funny schematic to explain characters and actor changes, since all actors play two or three characters and show this through costume changes. Performance day this month is Tuesday the 28th at noon. Today it’s only the 7th and I’m already sick of going over the play. Still, far worse would be getting up there to interpret and being unprepared. The time and energy is worth it in the long run, and the past two years have been a moment of unequaled accomplishment in my interpreting history, so I shouldn’t complain. Of course there was that embarrassing but hilarious moment the first year when the actors doing “Much Ado” started dancing. The guy playing Benedick grabbed me and we did the country swing. I still have that on DVD.
Anyway, it’s time to try and shake my obsession with Shakespeare and get back to blogging about my first love: writing. Maybe he would understand that, and maybe he’s not so bad after all. At least I’ve learned one thing from him: when one of my characters needs to give an order about getting a task done fast, I’m going to toss the wordy stuff and just write: “Move your butt.”