Deaf, Gay Character Is Focus of New Craig Lucas Drama

News   Deaf, Gay Character Is Focus of New Craig Lucas Drama
 
A new drama inspired by the story of Job arrives from the author of American in Paris, The Light in the Piazza and Prelude to a Kiss.
Russell Harvard
Russell Harvard

Written and directed by Craig Lucas, I Was Most Alive with You, a new drama based on the Biblical story of the trials of Job, will have its world premiere starting May 27 at the South End/Calderwood Pavilion in Boston under the auspices of the Huntington Theatre Company. The limited run is scheduled to end Jun 26.

Lucas wrote librettos to the current hit Broadway musical An American in Paris and to Adam Guettel’s The Light in the Piazza; his list of plays includes Prelude to a Kiss, Blue Window and Reckless.

The new play is about a Deaf man who undergoes a series of severe life reversals. Award-winning Deaf actor Russell Harvard (Spring Awakening on Broadway) will play Knox. Lucas wrote the role of Knox specifically for Russell after seeing his performance in Tribes Off Broadway in 2012.

Here's how the plot is described in production notes: “At Thanksgiving dinner, Knox shares that he is grateful for three things he thought were a curse: being Deaf, being gay, and being an alcoholic. After a terrible accident and what feels like the trials of Job, he and his family’s resilience is put to the test. The story of Job is shared by the Torah, Bible, and Koran, and Lucas’ play similarly explores the story through multiple spiritual lenses.”

I Was Most Alive with You will feature both deaf and hearing actors. Four shadow interpreters will be on stage, moving in close proximity to the actor they are interpreting. Integrating ASL interpreters onstage allows all audience members to focus on the action of the play together. For audience members not fluent in American Sign Language, text will be projected when only American Sign Language is being used to communicate on stage. ASL fluent members of the Deaf/deaf/hard-of-hearing communities are invited to purchase tickets to any performance.

Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois said, “Craig Lucas’ latest work is a gorgeous play about what it means to believe in other people and to choose life even in the darkest of moments. His complex characters, searching for meaning and connection, will move and inspire our audiences. Craig is one of the American theatre’s master playwrights, and this newest play bursts with emotion and intelligence.”

“I’m so excited to be working on this play at the Huntington,” said Lucas. “Peter DuBois and I have a long friendship and now I am over the moon about working with his incredible colleagues. I couldn’t be more thrilled about the process, the actors, and the project. And if the process so far is any indication, then this is far and away the most meaningful artistic journey of my life.”

Also in the cast: Steven Goldstein plays Ash, Knox’s father and also a recovering alcoholic. His wife Pleasant is played by Dee Nelson and his mother Carla is played by Nancy E. Carroll. Astrid, Knox’s best friend and writing partner, is played by Marianna Bassham. Knox’s 20-something love interest Farhad is played by Tad Cooley, and Carla’s nurse Mariama is played by Gameela Wright. The shadow interpreters are Joey Caverly, Amelia Hensley, Monique Holt, and Christopher Robinson.

Tickets can be ordered online at Huntingtontheatre.org, by phone at (617) 266-0800 or in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.

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