Do we have a preference in relation to how we work creatively as to the configuration of BSL/Hearing performing Girls and Dolls?
Is that preference different as an observer verses if you are performer and dependent on scenes worked on?
Worked on 'The Park' scene and tried many different combinations
BSL Clare with BSL Emma
BSL Clare with Hearing Emma
BSL Clare and Hearing Clare with BSL Emma and Hearing Emma
Hearing Clare and Hearing Emma
Hearing Clare and BSL Emma
We saw promise when it was only one BSL performer and one hearing performer no matter what role was being played. We felt that it was possible to understand enough of story in this mode.
We felt that when all performers were on stage and even though given freedom of movement that BSL Clare and Hearing Clare performers were attracted to work side by side and there was some feeling of less ownership of character and that the other was interpreting for you. It was less exciting.
We then tried this approach again and added the idea that the double characters were like best friends so BSL Clare and Hearing Clare would therefore work together more, give more eye contact to one another and work more as a 'gang' and the same for Emma's character. This worked better. It felt right for this scene. I particularly liked the idea of having a scene early on in the play where all modes of characters are on stage.
We then worked on scene which is 'Outside Mag's and Josie's House' this is a scene where role shifting takes place. Role shifting was the main thing when reading this play that made me thing that it might particularly suit working with deaf actors on it.
In this scene traditionally 'Young Clare' 30's Clare and 'Mags' are played by one actor and by the other - Young Emma, 30's Emma and Josie.
We explored splitting BSL performers playing only Young Clare/Emma and 30's Clare/Emma and hearing performers playing Mags and Josie as well as Mag's being performed by BSL performer and Josie by hearing and then Young/30s Clare by hearing performer and BSL perfumer playing Young/30's Emma.
We had mixed feelings about these and other combinations. Conscious again of feeling like either just voice over or interpretative performance as opposed to ensemble. As well as challenges in conveying story enough for an audience whether hearing or deaf.
Finally I think we found that we liked it when we had one BSL performer and one hearing performer playing in the traditionally - originally conceived configuration of 'Young Clare' 30's Clare and 'Mags' are played by one actor and by the other - Young Emma, 30's Emma and Josie.
We also worked on Clare's Bedroom scene, a very emotionally charged scene.
We worked in our preferred configurations as before but this time explored an approach that we had a central focus of the scene being a BSL Clare and a Hearing Emma playing the scene but that on the periphery that the Hearing Clare and BSL Emma explored performing the scene looking at the subtext and inner voices of the characters. This felt a very powerful approach that particularly worked for this scene.
It is an approach that I understand that Shared Experience have used but just with hearing performers and that I am interested in exploring what other scenes within Girls and Dolls it may work for as I don't think appropriate for all and may have more impact if chosen carefully.