By Kate Taylor, New York Times
It didn’t take much rehearsing for Russell Harvard, who plays the deaf son of a loquacious and argumentative British family in the Off Broadway play “Tribes,” to get inside his character’s skin.
Like his character Billy, the 30-year-old actor is himself partially deaf. And while, unlike Billy, he grew up in a deaf family, the early rehearsals for “Tribes” gave him a crash course in the isolation that Billy often feels among his cacophonous relatives.
The producers had hired a sign-language interpreter to help ease communication among Mr. Harvard and the other cast members and the director, David Cromer, but in the rehearsal room, where many people were often talking at once, Mr. Harvard said he sometimes felt lost.
“I couldn’t pick up on a lot of the overlapping conversation going on,” Mr. Harvard said in an interview late last month, adding, “I was like, ‘I’m Billy — right there, right now.’ It was funny, and then frustrating.” (Mr. Harvard wears a hearing aid and conducted the interview without an interpreter, occasionally leaning forward to ask that something be repeated.)
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