In just a week, a cast of 14 students at Texas Woman’s University will take to the stage for their debut of ‘These Shining Lives.’ Among them is an actor overcoming all odds, working alongside a cast he often can’t hear.
Alex Delacruz was born with progressive hearing loss. He said he was diagnosed as a toddler, and doctors told his mother he’d gradually lose his hearing as he aged. As a senior in college, he can hear some though he struggles with certain notes and vocal registers.
“It’s like the sounds hitting me, but I’m not processing it,” said Delacruz.
When he considered changing his major to acting to pursue a childhood dream, he admits there was self-doubt. But as he has time and time again in life, he made the conscious decision not to let it hold him back.
“I sort of came to the difficult conclusion that if they have a problem working with me that I might be able to find a way to help them so they can help me. It’s a lot of give and take,” said Delacruz.
Co-Director Susan Carol Davis said they were impressed by how forthright Delacruz was about his disability as he first took the stage to audition. Unlike him, she said she was never concerned his hearing difficulties would hold him or their production back.
“He was absolutely passionate about this role. He had done a lot of homework to prepare for it. So it was very easy for me to think, regardless of whether he was a hearing actor or whether he was a non-hearing actor, he would’ve been the right person for the role,” said Davis.
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To do so, Delacruz focuses on visual cues like stage lighting.
“He’s very tuned in to that. That’s the way he’s keeping track of when his moment’s going to be. He’s very attentive to the entrances, the exits, the light changes, all of those things,” said Davis.
He also worked to memorize nearly all of the dialogue in the 64-page play, so that if he missed a character’s line he wouldn’t miss his cue.
“For me, I think his work ethic and is an honest, straight forward look at who he is and who he can be for us is quite inspiring,” said Davis.
For Delacruz, it’s simply a means of finding fulfillment in life.
“Just because people have told me that I can’t do a thing doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try, because I might surprise them and myself. I think other people should just give it a shot. At least you can go through life knowing that you’ve done it and you won’t wonder,” said Delacruz.
‘These Shining Lives’ debuts February 12 at TWU’s Redbud Theater Complex. It runs through the 16.