'I Was Almost Alive With You'

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A groundbreaking show is taking center stage in Boston this month.

“I Was Most Alive With You” is a game-changer for the deaf community. The world premiere show, a production by the Huntington Theatre Company, tells the story of Knox, a man defined by being a deaf, gay alcoholic.

“The play … sort of mirrors the Book of Job,” said Russell Harvard, who plays Knox. “And so you’re going to see that parallel of the life of Job, what he went through, the life of his family, what they’ve all gone through.”

The play features both deaf and hearing actors. It’s a first in theater.

“The deaf community doesn’t have to wait for a specific show to be scheduled with interpreters. They can come anytime they want, and it’s totally accessible. And that has never been done before,” Harvard said.

Shadow interpreters on stage move in close proximity to the actor they are interpreting. It’s a new challenge for actress Amelia Hensley.

“We’re responsible for showing their inner feelings, their inner thought world,” Hensley explained. “If they are mad, you may not actually see it on their face. And for the deaf audience, we want to make sure that is visual as much as it is auditory.”

Harvard, who is known for his work in Broadway’s Tony Award-winning “Spring Awakening,” connected to the lead role.

“I’ve called this play a movement. Call it a revolution,” Harvard said.

For both Harvard and Hensley, the opportunity to be in a show unlike any other was something they couldn’t pass up.

“When I read the script, I was so moved. I thought, I have to do it. It’s such a good show,” Hensley said.

“The only thing I’m slightly disappointed in is that I cannot see the show for myself,” Harvard told necn.

“I Was Most Alive With You” is written and directed by Craig Lucas. The show is playing through June 26 at Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. For ticket information, click here.



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