Tribes at Actors is a Focus on Family Dynamic

John Judd, Ryan Spahn, Alex Olson, Meg Thalken, Monique Barbee_Tribes_Photo by Bill Brymer

John Judd, Ryan Spahn, Alex Olson, Meg Thalken and Monique Barbee in Tribes
Photo by Bill Brymer

Tribes, now playing at Actors Theatre, is about a really loud family in which Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister don’t hold back in expressing themselves, while a younger brother who’s deaf must find  his place at the table.

The play, by English writer Nina Raine, opens at a family dinner with a spirited discussion among four family members, while Billy tries vainly to keep up with what everyone’s talking about. Later, Billy, who’s been deaf since birth, meets a girl, and brings her home to meet his family.

For anyone who’s experienced being around the deaf community, the play will be hit close to home. But for others, it’s an examination of how we communicate, or fail to, especially within the surroundings of our family, our tribe.

The play’s entertainment value comes in the form of memorable characters who express their views in a strong and often hilarious way. They insult each other, they scream, they curse and they laugh. Billy gets little slack from his family members, who don’t consider his deafness a handicap.

The play is performed in the round at the Bingham Theatre, and at some points includes subtitles projected above.

Tribes is at Actors Theatre through Dec. 8. For more information, click here.

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