Phoenix Theatre to Stage TRIBES, 1/9-2/9

Photo from the Barrow Street Theatre
production of Tribes in New York, NY.

Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis announces the Indiana premiere of Nina Raine's Tribes. Opening January 9, 2014 in the Livia and Steve Russell Theatre at the Phoenix, this show runs through February 9, 2014 and will be directed by Purdue University Professor and Coordinator of Undergraduate Theatre Studies, Richard Rand.

"Tribes is on the list of top 10 most-produced plays in the country right now and 2012 winner of the Drama Desk Award for best play," says Phoenix Theatre Producing Director Bryan Fonseca. "Steppenwolf in Chicago jumped at the chance to open Tribes this week, and we are excited to be opening it next."

In the dictionary, tribe is defined as the part of society whose members have ancestry, customs, beliefs, and leadership in common. We are all looking for a tribe; a place to belong. We want to be heard and known, to actually make a difference. We know we need community. Sometimes we are born into our tribe, but sometimes our tribe is waiting for us outside of our family. In Tribes, protagonist Billy was born into a family where he doesn't seem to belong. They love him, but he isn't like them. Billy is deaf in a hearing family. He reads lips and can speak (or voice), but he can't hear, which is the reason he has trouble communicating with his family. Billy, like all of us, is looking for his tribe.

"When I first read the play," states director Richard Rand, "I marveled at Billy's ability to accept everyone in his crazy family. He seemed impervious to the sniping, and at home amidst the chaos of his family's life. Then Billy is introduced to the Deaf community and he reaches out to people who speak his language. He realizes that he sacrificed himself to be what his family needed him to be. Will he ever find his way without leaving his tribe and starting a new life?"

Billy's intellectual and proudly eccentric English family is its own tiny empire: private languages, in-jokes and fiery arguments. Billy, deaf since birth, is the only one who truly listens. When he meets his girlfriend Sylvia, he is introduced to a larger Deaf community, which sparks a struggle for self-identity and rebellion against his family. Tribes is a sharp, witty story about finding the place where you can be heard and a family - or tribe - that feels like home.

ABOUT Nina Raine: After graduating from Oxford, Nina Raine began her career as a trainee director at The Royal Court Theatre. She dramaturged and directed the hard-hitting verbatim play Unprotected at the Liverpool Everyman, for which she won both the TMA best Director Award and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for an Outstanding Production on a Human Rights Theme.

Her debut play, Rabbit, premiered at the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2006 and after a sellout run transferred to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End before being produced as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival in New York. The play earned her the Charles Wintour Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright as well as the Critics Circle Award for most Promising Playwright. Tribes, directed by Roger Michel, enjoyed a sellout run and was well received by the critics.


(in alphabetical order)

Ruth........... Kathryn Bartholomew

Daniel........... Matthew Goodrich

Christopher........... Stephen Hunt

Beth........... Gigi Jennewein

Billy........... Andrew Martin

Sylvia........... .... Ryan O'Shea


In addition to producer Bryan Fonseca, the production staff for Tribes includes Rich Rand as Director, Cliff Chang as Assistant Director, ........... Bernie Killian as Set Designer, Jeff Martin as Lighting Designer and Technical Director, Grace Ingraham as ........... Dramaturgy, Tom Horan as Sound Designer, Ashley Kiefer as Costume Design and Props Master, and Chelsey Stauffer as Stage Manager.

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