QCT SPOTLIGHT: Jane Meirose
If you’ve had the pleasure of watching Jane interpret a QCT production, you know exactly how talented she is. Jane Meirose, Sign Language Interpreter and QU instructor, has been a beloved part of the QCT family for a few years. And now, we’re going to meet her…
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Jane.
A: I have been married to Paul for 30 years and we have three daughters. Anne is married to our son-in-law, Cody, and they have our one grandson, Joel. Our two other girls live out of town: Sarah is in Washington DC and works in the US Senate, and Mary Jane is a junior at Belmont University in Nashville.
I have worked as a certified interpreter for about 20 years and at QU as Director/Instructor of the Sign Language Interpretation degree program for eight years.
We are originally from St Charles, MO but have worked hard to stay in Quincy for the past 21 years. We have been members of Grandview Church for 19 years.
Q: What inspired you to become an ASL interpreter?
A: I took a class at St. Louis Community College Florrisant Valley and noticed they had a large population of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. I saw a brochure about the Interpreting program, prayed about it and took a night class in ASL. I was hooked!
Q: How did you come to be involved interpreting at QCT?
A: I was asked by a Deaf Quincy community member if I would interpret a show. QCT was receptive to the idea, and I have had the privilege of interpreting many fabulous QCT shows off to the left side of the stage. When I started at QU, I worked with the QU director, Connie Philips, to allow myself and and students to shadow interpret on QU’s stage. Now we are fortunate to be included on the big stage at QCT for TARZAN ®!
I have been advocating for this for a few years and was glad when Kelsey tried us out with a bit of interpreting in Stellaluna. I was honored when Kelsey asked QU to be involved with TARZAN ®! I jumped at the chance and then started shakin’ in my boots!
Q: How has your department gotten involved with this production?
A: There are three QU students in the show; two seniors, Katherine Rathgeber and Micki Brehe, and a junior, Taylor McCollough. All three have a bit of theatre experience, but have jumped right in interpreting, singing, and dancing all at the same time! My younger students are supporting and will be signing ushers for the shows.
Q: What was it like teaching the rest of the cast ASL?
A: It has been a joy to teach the QCT student actors. They all have such great teachable and positive attitudes! The high school students have been so interested and respectful of getting the language right, and even the little ones are hard workers and little pros!
Q: What do you hope people learn from this experience?
A: First, this story shows how important loved ones are in your life. Secondly, it illustrates that if someone we love is different than us you can still have a great relationship. Adding sign language to this story visualizes what Disney and Phil Collins intended more clearly for [everyone]—the Deaf and Hard of Hearing audience and the audience who can hear.
I hope the cast learns that the differences in people are not what is important, and that what is similar about us brings us together. I hope they have learned about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and that we are all the same; we just use different languages. I [also] hope they would like to continue to learn ASL, remember some ASL to use in their lives, and that they get to know more Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. I hope some would like to become interpreters because they are needed to serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
I hope the audience, Deaf and hearing, understand the real meaning of the story which is acceptance of others. I also hope they enjoy the visual aspects of the show as well as the beautiful singing. [And] I hope the [entire] audience both laughs and cries.
Q: What would you say to anyone who wants to learn ASL?
A: I encourage everyone to learn a little or a lot of ASL. It is fun! QU offers a four year degree program to become an interpreter and an ASL minor to complement another major. Also, the Kroc Center has offered some ASL classes. There are also websites such as ASLpro.com and Handspeak.com.
The Interpreter Studies Bachelor’s Degree program is designed to start the classes in the major freshman year and [help the student] become immersed in the Deaf culture. Class sizes are small with faculty support. We hold events for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community on campus, as well as attend events and workshops off campus with Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers and professional interpreters. The 150 hour internship provides the experience you will need in all types of interpreting.
Q: What would you want to say to everyone involved in the production?
A: I want to thank QCT for their support and encouragement for me and the QU students by allowing us to be a part of such a great group of talented people! I know this will be something my students, myself, and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community will remember as a great experience!
Learn more about the show…