As we say goodbye to 2022, Arts and Culture Director Magan Harms has been taking a Facebook stroll through memory lane of some of her favorite Audio Description moments of the year… out of almost 140 events total! Check it out–
We begin with the show “Roll With It!,” a play by Katie Rodriguez Banister & Michelle Zielinski by The Black Mirror Theatre Company. This was our first audio description event with Black Mirror and Kranzberg Arts Foundation. This play was based on Katie’s life story, and she starred as herself. I loved learning about her life after an automobile accident and her “badass story of transformation.” It’s not often an actor in a power wheelchair is on stage, and it was fantastic to see her use it as a storytelling tool with her younger, pre-accident self riding around on the back.
Next, let’s remember the hot summer days at The Muny. I’ve always loved the musical “Camelot,” which was my favorite for the 2022 season. The giant lit letters that spelled out the name of the show were fun, and I loved to listen to the description of the joust as it happened in shadow on a backdrop. I also love that The Muny now provides audio description for every Monday and Saturday performance.
Let’s keep with those warm summer thoughts and remember when audio describer Cory went to Chicago to describe the Chicago Air and Water Show! Another first for MindsEye, Cory described the show both days from the beautiful lakefront. As a military veteran and trained describer, Cory had the perfect combination of skills and knowledge for this job. This is also one of my favorites because it was available via Zoom, so we could stay cozy at home and listen to the description.
This is the time of year we talk about peace on earth, goodwill, being kind, all the happy feely stuff. Not a single event this year gave me more warm fuzzies than meeting Steve Burns when he was at one of our newest venues, Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. Most of us know him as Steve from Blues Clues, the guy that always seemed to need help from a bunch of preschoolers to find an obvious clue and was over-excited when the mail was delivered. What struck me about this event was the audience was filled with college students, and they were having deep, meaningful conversations with a guy they felt was a long-lost childhood friend. Unlike most events we describe with scripts, costumes, and action, describer Sarah focused on Steve’s facial expressions and his physical reactions to questions. For an auditorium filled with young adults, it seemed like we were eavesdropping on individual private conversations. It’s not an event I’ll soon forget!
My favorite audio description events of 2022? St. Louis Cardinals games at Busch Stadium, of course! If you listened to me describe a game or have ever had a conversation with me for more than 10 minutes, you know that I love the Birds on the Bat and the best bird of all, Fredbird! I can’t wait to describe that bird again this season!
I loved working with the Saint Louis Science Center this year during the touring exhibit “Hockey: Faster Than Ever.” We provided described tours on three different dates, two with our friends from SEKIA and SWKIA Lighthouse for the Blind – St. Louis. The Science Center did an incredible job at not just helping us add description, but really trying to make the exhibit more accessible. We were able to touch items not on display and even put on some pieces of equipment. Additionally, the interactive portions of the exhibit were modified to allow more participation, including allowing guests to hit a larger puck with ball bearings used by the St. Louis Blues Blind Hockey Club.
This year we audio described the Festival Season of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. I have a bit of a controversial pick as my favorite opera for 2022—if you find opera controversial, I mean. Without question, my favorite was “Awakenings.” I’m told it wasn’t the most popular of the season, but it was firmly in my wheelhouse. Atonal, dissonant, urgent, intensely repetitive, heartbreaking, and joyous all at once. Originally commissioned for the 2020 season and postponed, I’m glad we were able to experience it this year. If you missed it, fingers crossed for an album someday.
Do you ever watch a movie and think, “wow, they should make this into a musical?” I can honestly say that I never had that thought about “The Karate Kid,” but some genius did. Although we sadly were not in attendance the same day as teen heartthrob Ralph Macchio, we had the second-best thing, themed cookies!
Rarely does MindsEye COO Angela Banks live describe, but she jumped at the chance to describe this iconic story by STAGES at Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Sometimes shows seem to be just made for audio description. Never has the rule of “say the term, define the term, use it again” been so handy! There was ample time to describe Daniel’s wrist motions when Mr. Miyagi taught him to paint the fence and wax the car. Later in the fight sequences, it was awesome to just hear “paint the fence, wax on, wax off” and know exactly what movement she meant.