December 13, 2011

A Shortcut to Happiness audio-described   

Recently – at Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre – one of the performances of A Shortcut to Happiness was audio described for the blind. Two of them reported to Roger Hall* on their experience.    
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Well, what an experience having a your play audio described.  About eight of us vision impaired attended.

Anna Henare is to be congratulated for arranging the microphones, headsets etc, arranging for a touch tour of the set and props.

In future I just can’t imagine me attending another performance unless it is audio described and others I have spoken with are of the same opinion. 

Anna’s description contextualised the play and made it so much easier to follow i.e. when Ned walks into the room to find Natasha bending over in her skimpy outfit while vacuuming the floor and Ned says “Oh my god” I could immediately pick up the dialogue that followed. When the ladies were dancing around Sebastian we were told that the ladies were gazing fondly at him.

Ordinarilly all this would have been missed.

Peter Neville
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The play was brilliant. Anna Henare did a wonderful job at narrating and we were able to laugh at all the right times. Beforehand we got to see the props and the layout of the stage and heard some of the actors speak in their actor voices so it made everything much easier to follow. The ushers all came for training at how to assist blind people and we really appreciate all the work Anna put in and are delighted that the Fortune Theatre are keen to support this initiative.

Once you’ve seen an audio described play or movie it’s really hard to go back to not having it. My family and friends will be delighted that they no longer have to whisper to me in all the silent bits to say what is happening.

Paula Waby
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*Roger Hall received two Lifetime Achievement Awards this year: at the HACKMAN Awards 2011 (Auckland) and the Dunedin Theatre Awards 2011. Congratulations from Theatreview! – ED

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