Broadway Production of Big River

Broadway Production of Big River

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Broadway Production of Big River

At the time when I purchased the tickets for the Broadway production
of “Big River”, a production of The Deaf West Theatre, I did not know
what to expect. I questioned how they were going to express the sign
language as well as singing and voice all in one. I wondered if there
was going to be interpreters or was the whole story going to be told
in sign language.

When I first arrived and walked up to the crowd of people in line I
realized that only a few people out of at least a hundred people were
communicating in sign language. I found that a little surprising due
to the fact that the performance was put on by a lot of deaf
performers; therefore, I assumed that the majority of the people in
attendance would be from within the deaf community. But, to surprise
my assumption had been wrong…completely wrong.

After getting seated and comfortable I began looking around at the
different people in attendance for this performance. From where I was
sitting I could only see about five different groups of people
signing. The majority of the people I could see were the deaf
volunteers working for the theatre. The people all around us were all
communicating with speech, I doubted that any of them were deaf. I
found it funny because once the show started most of the people that
were communicating in voice had changed there communication form to
sign language. I had figured out that many of the people attending
were of the hearing world but knew sign language. That was fascinating
to realize.

Hearing the actors voicing and signing simultaneously was a very neat
experience. I was able to see many different words that we learn in
class in a different context and environment. It is so beautiful for
one sign to have so many various meanings within context of a
conversation. American Sign Language is such an incredibly beautiful
language.

Throughout the show I wondered how well a deaf person could see the

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vocabulary that the actors were signing. So, when intermission arose I
went out the lobby and mingled with a few deaf people and asked them
if it was a challenge to attempt to see the signs while sitting so far
from the stage. The woman responded and said that she could see
majority of the signs easily but there were a few that were unclear to
her. I found that interesting and I also asked her why there were very
many deaf people in attendance. Her response was that many of the deaf
community that she knows had already gone to see the show.

I found the “Big River” to be a wonderful experience for me, let alone
someone who is a beginning ASL student. I had hoped that there would
be more of the deaf community there to talk to but overall, I felt I
completely satisfied with the price I paid for the performance and
would enjoy attending once more. Thank you for the information on this
incredible event.
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