Interpreting Musical Theater

cassidia4

New Member
Hi everyone! i'm planning on interpreting my high schools spring musical "Les Miserables" as part of my senior project. If anyone could give me just an overview of the basics so that I can be sure to do this properly. I am recieving help from a professional but anyother help that could be offered would be GREAT!!!!!!!

THANKS!
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
What is your previous experience?

Are you going to be the only interpreter?

What do you mean by help from a professional? Do you mean a certified sign language interpreter?

Will there be Deaf audience members?

Are you using a shadow technique, or off to one side or . . . ?

How much time to do you have to plan and rehearse?
 

Cassidia

New Member
What is your previous experience?

Are you going to be the only interpreter?

What do you mean by help from a professional? Do you mean a certified sign language interpreter?

Will there be Deaf audience members?

Are you using a shadow technique, or off to one side or . . . ?

How much time to do you have to plan and rehearse?
I'm very experienced, nearly fluent.

Yes a certified interpreter.

I believe there will be deaf audience members

I will be off to one side, and yes I will be the only interpreter

I am already very well versed in the show and what will be required of it. I have about a month left to pull it all together. I've already figured out many of the main songs.

and this is the same user as Cassidia4, sorry i didnt realize i still knew my password for my old account!
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Do you have any specific questions or areas of concern?

Sorry, it's past my bedtime (brain's slowing down :zzz: ), and I'm leaving town tomorrow morning for a couple days.

I'll check this thread when I get back.
 

Cassidia

New Member
What would the proper way of doing dialogue? How would i differentiate when I am character 1 vs. character 2? Also, is it alright to use name signs? Does grammar is songs differ? I'm sorry I probably sound stupid haha
 

Etoile

New Member
Are you familiar with the concept of role shift? It's an absolutely essential part of ASL and that's how you will do dialogue. Talk to your friend who is helping you and ask him or her to demonstrate role shift.
 

SJCSue

Member
What would the proper way of doing dialogue? How would i differentiate when I am character 1 vs. character 2? Also, is it alright to use name signs? Does grammar is songs differ? I'm sorry I probably sound stupid haha
I do not know if you know but Les Miz is completely sung! I have only seen it on Broadway and there is a scene between Valjean and Javert (sp?). This scene is when they both are singing at the same time. I do not know if this scene in the high school version because I have not seen done by a hs group.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
I do not know if you know but Les Miz is completely sung! I have only seen it on Broadway and there is a scene between Valjean and Javert (sp?). This scene is when they both are singing at the same time. I do not know if this scene in the high school version because I have not seen done by a hs group.
I've seen a stage performance by the professional tour group. The staging was quite elaborate. I guess a hs group would have to modify their production.

The performance you saw; did they use the set that "transformed" before your eyes when the "barricades" went up? Did they use the "turntable" on stage to simulate people walking around? I can't remember all the special sets and effects but they were pretty cool. I'm sure the Broadway version was even more spectacular. :)

Anyway, back on topic, when I've had to interpret songs where the lines "overlap", I had to separate them by role shifting and doing each character sequentially rather than simultaneously. It's not as good as having two terps interact but if you only have one terp, DO-DO?

I think the cafe scene with the revolutionaries was similar in that the characters begin to overlap. Now that I think about it, several of the songs have portions of them that do that. I need to listen to my CD of the play to refresh my memory. :)

There is word play, and historical and French cultural references to deal with.

Quite a challenge for a lone beginner to deal with!
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Are you familiar with the concept of role shift? It's an absolutely essential part of ASL and that's how you will do dialogue. Talk to your friend who is helping you and ask him or her to demonstrate role shift.
The real fun is role shifting for more than four characters in one scene, especially when the dialogue is going fast and furious. It can make you dizzy! :lol:
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
What would the proper way of doing dialogue? How would i differentiate when I am character 1 vs. character 2? Also, is it alright to use name signs? Does grammar is songs differ? I'm sorry I probably sound stupid haha
No, you don't sound stupid; just inexperienced. :)

However, I'm rather concerned. The questions you ask are about very basic techniques that you should already be skilled in before taking on such a huge task as interpreting Les Miz by yourself. Exactly how much help are you getting from the professional interpreter? Is there any way the terp can do the play with you?

It's hard to explain some of these things by short posts. They really should be demonstrated. I have a book at home that is specifically about interpreting in dramatic situations. When I get home I'll see what "tips" I can pass on.

I don't know you personally, so I don't know what skills or experience you have. From the nature of your questions, I'm guessing you haven't taken any interpreting courses.

Normally, theatrical interpreting is not for novices.


You will need to use role shifting and characterization.

You can use name signs; just clearly establish who they represent before you use them.

Interpreting and performing songs is different from signing dialogue.



When do rehearsals begin?
 

Etoile

New Member
However, I'm rather concerned. The questions you ask are about very basic techniques that you should already be skilled in before taking on such a huge task as interpreting Les Miz by yourself. Exactly how much help are you getting from the professional interpreter? Is there any way the terp can do the play with you?
This was my initial thought, too. Things like role shift are part of ASL, not just part of interpreting - being fluent in ASL means being familiar with how to use role shift, for example. However, if it's for a senior project in a high school, I wonder if there will be any deaf people present? Or is it just a demonstration? If it is just for the opportunity to experience being an interpreter and learning about the challenges, then I think it is a good project. However, if there will be deaf people on the audience depending on the interpretation for their enjoyment of the play, then a professional should be involved in the interpretation as well as the training.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
This was my initial thought, too. Things like role shift are part of ASL, not just part of interpreting - being fluent in ASL means being familiar with how to use role shift, for example. However, if it's for a senior project in a high school, I wonder if there will be any deaf people present? Or is it just a demonstration? If it is just for the opportunity to experience being an interpreter and learning about the challenges, then I think it is a good project. However, if there will be deaf people on the audience depending on the interpretation for their enjoyment of the play, then a professional should be involved in the interpretation as well as the training.
Cassidia said that she thinks there will be deaf people present in the audience.
 

Cassidia

New Member
i know the show very well. I've seen it more then 10 times and i've actually been in it twice. yes we're using a turntable, yes we're using the barricade. I have been practicing pretty much the entire show with the exception of a few scenes and am 85% comfortable with it. I do not know about role shifting. I interpret for my church and other small events, but I've never experienced having to interpret dialogue. I intended on doing songs like "Confrontation" with Valjean and Javert sequentially. And for the groups when a small group has a harmony (i.e. at the end of the day, lovely ladies, Turning) i would just pick one group because they are both saying pretty much the same thing, just slightly different wording and different tempos. Could someone explain role shifting to me?
 
H

HoHGuyOhio

Guest
Role shift is an essential part of ASL, and something you will be able to incorporate into your church interpreting.

Role shift is how you differentiate between who is talking. When person A is talking, you shift your upper body (and eye gaze) to face one side. When person B is talking, you shift your upper body to face the other side. Imagine you are playing two characters in one play. You might jump back and forth and assume each character's position to show that you're two different people. Role shift is the same idea, but without the jumping. You just shift your body to indicate who is speaking.

I hope that's clear. :) Good luck.
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
I intended on doing songs like "Confrontation" with Valjean and Javert sequentially.
What do you mean? As in interpret one part all the way through and then go back and interpret the other part?

Role shift is a VITAL part of ASL (as HOHGuy says), not to mention theatrical interpreting. HOHGuy's explanation is good but you absolutely need someone to demonstrate it and work on it with you. This is the first thing you should bring up with the professional who is mentoring you on this. I'm sorry to say that I would not consider a signer fluent if she were not conversant with role shifting.

Honestly I can't imagine this show being interpreted by fewer than two people. I don't mean because of your skills, because I haven't seen you sign, but because of the nature of the show.
 

LMM

New Member
Cassidia
HoHGuyOhio say's "Role shift is an essential part of ASL" Very true in the Deaf Language.

Interpretrator say's "Honestly I can't imagine this show being interpreted by fewer than two people. I don't mean because of your skills, because I haven't seen you sign, but because of the nature of the show."
When there more then 2 people talking , You'll need more then 1 terp. Also depends how long the show is? A terp hands get very tired after about an hour. Why if a terps have to terp over more then an hour they have 2 terps at meetings.
Hope you really do see see a show done in ASL, Watch what is done & how it's proformed.You'll be surprize how amaze the sweet sound of a music show done in ASL.

LMM'S Terp
 

SJCSue

Member
The performance you saw; did they use the set that "transformed" before your eyes when the "barricades" went up? Did they use the "turntable" on stage to simulate people walking around? I can't remember all the special sets and effects but they were pretty cool. I'm sure the Broadway version was even more spectacular. :)
Reba, I went to see Les Miz on Broadway with my parents 7 years ago. I do not remember it very well. However, I am hoping to see LM again while the revival is still on Broadway.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
Reba, I went to see Les Miz on Broadway with my parents 7 years ago. I do not remember it very well. However, I am hoping to see LM again while the revival is still on Broadway.
I hope you do get that opportunity. :)
 
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