‘Joseph the Dreamer’: Inclusive, deaf-friendly musical

A SCENE from ‘Joseph the Dreamer.’

On 7 August, the Trumpets musical Joseph the Dreamer made history as the first deaf-friendly stage production in the Philippines.

This was made possible by a member of the organization Deaf and Terp, who stood on one side of the stage and interpreted the show with Filipino sign language for the benefit of the hearing impaired among the audience.

It’s one thing to see such interpreters on primetime TV news, but to do it during a theatrical production, and with music at that, is something else.

Deaf and Terp members. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF JOSEPH THE DREAMER

Joseph the Dreamer required several interpreters listening and watching the actors, and then almost simultaneously describing the dialogue through both hands.

They also acted and danced during the show. One of the standout moments was the reunion scene between Joseph (played by Neo Rivera on the show date I watched) and Jacob (Audie Gemora).

Two interpreters — one for Joseph and one for Jacob — interacted like they were the actors themselves. When Joseph and Jacob hugged each other and cried, so did the interpreters.

As a lifelong theater buff, I felt joy seeing a well-recieved musical production being interpreted for the deaf.

I left the theater smiling — blown away by it all. Historic, indeed.


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