Aspiring to Conquer Crossover Acting Path

  • By · April 11th, 2012

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.)

Read the full article at the New York Times.

One Response to “Aspiring to Conquer Crossover Acting Path”

  1. bosz says:

    I would start by signing up for a sign lagugane class locally (perhaps offered by an adult education school or community center), because then you might find parents of deaf/hard of hearing children learning sign language. You could hook-up with a family that would might be interested in having you babysit or befriend the family. I would suggest that you not call schools directly, because I know I personally am turned off when someone randomly calls me to volunteer in my deaf/hard of hearing classroom. I prefer recommendations from other professionals or people in the Deaf community. Schools are getting so concerned about security that you might find that you are not allowed to volunteer in a classroom unless you are a parent or are affiliated with an organization such as a univeristy. Also, you might be disappointed to find out that the deaf or hard of hearing students you track down might not even use ASL or sign language at all.

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