Galatea Workshops 5: Interview with Becky and Krishna

This morning I had a chance to speak to Becky Barry (BB) and Krishna Istha (KI) about this week.


How are you finding the workshops so far?

BB: Ah gosh! I’m finding it as if it was a wonderful palette of opportunity and a very deep—in a good way—explorative process of the text, but also of us—as a gang, as a little group. I’m finding it…challenging, but again in a good way; it’s making my brain work in different ways, that it hasn’t in a little while. And ultimately I’m finding it hugely enjoyable and very, very rewarding

KI: I’m finding it (I feel like I used this explanation as well yesterday, too, but …), like a super rich piece of chocolate cake. I don’t know how to explain that so well in words (I’m just going to explain cake now!). No, it’s exciting, and inspiring, and . . . I don’t think I necessarily enjoy working with old text as opposed to contemporary text, like new writing, I suppose, is mainly what I do. But I really, really liked working on a text that I barely understand this week. But it’s really amazing when words are explained to you and you’re like, oh that makes so much sense—it still resonates, it’s still understandable and relatable. So I’ve just been finding it really exciting to do different things and to learn dances and songs and to play with costumes. Because you’re working your brain all the time doing so many different things, so in the last four days there hasn’t been a moment where I’ve been, What time is it?, or I never check the clock or haven’t been, When’s lunch?, which is really rare as I get bored really easily…

Becky, you know British Sign Language (BSL) and English and have been working with both, and Krishna, you don’t know BSL but have also been working with both sign and spoken. Yesterday you were working on a scene that used both together. How have you found that experience with this 1580s text?

BB: I think it’s really interesting when one looks at an archaic text like this, as Krishna says, anybody looking at the meaning of a text like this really helps the understanding of it . . . with BSL, when we interpret we don’t look literally, we look at meaning. So actually the process for us as a little team who are using BSL is that we are doing exactly the same: we’re going what does that mean? Okay, let’s think of a good way of transposing, I guess, translating that into BSL. So in a funny sense the translation process between spoken English and BSL fits so well into this week, because we as a hearing gang who use spoken English are doing that already. So it’s fab, it feels really natural and relaxed…

KI: I think even for me to get the meaning it helps watching the BSL. Like yesterday, because I was learning signs to fit into the scene. And it made sense, because there was a word “wrack,” and I was like [to Becky], What’s “wrack”? And you did:

And I was like, I’ve got it—shipwreck! And that’s what we used in the scene. And it’s interesting that…even storytelling, you could do the entire play in BSL and I think everyone would get something from it. [You can see signs for the Gods here.]

What are you looking forward to today and tomorrow?

BB: I think today we’re exploring the lovers—so Phillida, Galatea. It’s really interesting that it’s day four of our process but we haven’t come to those characters yet. So I’m intrigued to get to know our eponymous heroine or hero, or both!

KI: I’m really excited for Galatea and Phillida too, and I think mainly because my obsession is gender—that’s what I think about like 24/7. And I’m going to love picking that apart, because when I first read it that was the first thing I got [snap]. Automatically I put a trans narrative to it, because I’m a trans person. And so I think that’s going to be exciting for me to be able to see an old text with a narrative that has potentially trans characters in it. So I’m really excited for that. And the song—the music—that we’re going to be working through with Vicky!

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