Legally blind actor pursuing theater career

August 25, 2013 6:49:30 AM PDT
A talented young actor who is legally blind is making inroads among the Chicago theater scene.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jay Worthington is an ensemble member of the Gift Theater.

"I am an actor in the city," he said. "I have also directed here and I teach acting throughout the city."

Jay was born blind with a rare eye disorder.

"I have something called Octular albinism and octular albinism basically affects how my eyes source and filter light and also the movement of my eyes.

"I read large prints I have glasses I don't drive. I am legally blind and my eyes are very sensitive to light and there's the erratic movements it has also caused legal blindness."

He always wanted to act, Jay was told this was not going to be possible.

"I have had actually a couple well-known figures in Chicago tell me, a couple professors in college tell me, cause of my disability I would never have a career in this," he said. "I am happy to have proven all of them wrong.

"The last play I did here I played a character who was completely blind. The character was a soul, the soul of a human who had just passed away. I had make up over my face I couldn't see a thing at all. I did that show completely blind. It was interesting how that kind of forces you to encounter your disability."

Sometimes the audience notices something going on with his eyes.

"Just ask me point blank, 'What is going on, your eyes are moving, that is so weird.' You know, sometimes people think it's a character choice, like it something I am doing for the part, which is ridiculous," Jay said.

"I am really happy doing what I am doing right now and, of course, I want to go on to do bigger and better things but I am so happy with the gift and the artistic home."

Jay graduated from the school at Steppenwolf Theater.

For more information: The Gift Theater


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