Quincy University’s sign language interpretation students will perform in the Quincy Community Theatre’s (QCT) upcoming production of Tarzan, February 9-12, 2017. With special approval from Disney Co. and Phil Collins, this production of Tarzan fully integrates American Sign Language (ASL). Some actors will use their voice and have a shadow sign language interpreter; other roles are reversed, in which actors signing have voice interpreters.
“QCT’s theme for this season’s shows is collaboration, so this production is awesome for the Deaf community because they get to see the whole show in a way that they understand,” says Katherine Rathgeber, senior sign language interpretation student at QU as well as an ASL performer in Tarzan. “Some see a language barrier between hearing and Deaf people, but this production helps to break that barrier which is great for both the Deaf community and the general public.”
The cast of QCT’s Tarzan features, one Deaf actor, students from grades 3rd–high school, QU ASL interpreting students, and some adults. Jane Meirose, director of the Interpreter Training Program at QU, is also helping to teach ASL to the actors throughout rehearsals and the performances. The show is open to the public. In addition, area schools who have Deaf children, the Illinois and Missouri Schools for the Deaf, and members of the Deaf community will attend.
“As a senior, I’ve done shadow interpreting and I hoped to do theatrical interpreting…I didn’t imagine it would be an experience like this. Having ASL integrated in this way on stage is
really cool,” says Rathgeber. “This is a unique way to apply what we learn in the classroom or from medical or educational interpreting. This opportunity provides good life lessons and learning to everyone involved because at some point, every person in the show does sign