Monday, 2 April 2018

Deaf Girly and captioned Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Last week something very exciting happened. Eighteen months after buying the tickets for me and FJM, we finally got to head to the Palace Theatre to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with Stagetext captions... and it was AMAZING.

I've written a lot about the importance of captions and how about before I knew I was deaf and even once I knew I was deaf, I simply assumed I wasn't intellectual enough to enjoy theatre as I yawned my way through a year 10 Shakespeare trip or woke myself up sleep talking during The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I found attending the theatre arduous, horrific, embarrassing and time wasting. I came out angry with myself for being so rubbish at something. When really I should have been giving my deaf. teenage self a break.

But then Stagetext came along and did that for me. Hurrah.

However, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious about the matinee and evening performance set up of Harry Potter. I was terrified I'd find the whole thing too exhausting and wouldn't follow it. I actually warned FJM that this might be the case, and he was very lovely about it.

But the reality was totally different.

Sure at the start when the conversation started quickly and I found my eyes darting between the caption boxes and the stage, I was worried it still wouldn't work. But quickly my brain got used to the set up and before I knew it I had forgotten that I was reading along and was utterly immersed.

Of course, it helps that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is very very good. Very good. There's lots going on visually, the characters are familiar and the plot is full of references a Harry Potter fan can gleefully pick up on. But as the final curtain fell, I was still amazed I'd managed it. Effortlessly. And I'd enjoyed it.

For many years, before technology gave me reliable subtitles for movies and theatre, books were my preferred form of entertainment. When I read books, I didn't miss anything. I started on an equal footing with hearing people. I got all the secrets. I never get secrets in real life. I never hear whispers or overhear information. Books made my world 3D. 

JK Rowling has always given me 3D Harry Potter, through the books, the subtitled DVDs and occasional convenient showings of the subtitled films at the cinema, and the play was no different. 

If you've not been to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet with Stagetext captions then I would implore you to go. The ticket booking process is easy, the box office incredible helpful and the whole day is amazing. What's more, if you buy a bottle of water at the bar, you get your programme half price, which seemed like a good deal.

That night, I stepped out of the theatre feeling inspired. Not just by JK Rowling's brilliant play but by the fact that I had finally stamped out that teenage insecurity of not being intellectual enough to attend the theatre once and for all.

Happy Easter peeps

DG
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