Until now the ability to attend live theatre with family and friends or to see a Broadway show on the spur of the moment has been a challenge for the deaf and hard of hearing who require special signed performances or specific seats for complete enjoyment.
But Sound Associates, Inc has launched I-Caption, an individual captioning system that allows deaf patrons to be as spontaneous as anyone else attending live theatre.
I-Caption employs a handheld wireless unit (in this case a Dell Axim) that displays dialogue and lyrics in text, in real time from any seat in the house. I-Caption is now available for all performances of the musical Wicked playing at the Gershwin Theater, as well as the national touring company of Big River. The first this new use for Pocket PC is put to test is during the stage show Wicked.
"So much is happening onstage during Wicked that understanding dialogue and song lyrics is crucial to fully enjoying this show," said T. Richard Fitzgerald, theatrical sound designer and CEO of Sound Associates, Inc. "I-Caption provides a seamless transcription so deaf theatre patrons can follow onstage dialogue and song lyrics conveniently and unobtrusively,"
The text is automated and synchronized with sound and lighting cues to accommodate pacing variations from performance to performance. A polarized screen keeps nearby patrons from being distracted by light or moving text.
In addition to I-Caption, the company also offer ShowTrans, an automated multilingual commentary service for non-English speaking audiences, is currently available for Wicked. And another initiative is D-Scriptive, an audio description service for the blind, coming soon.