BWW Reviews: Philadelphia Theatre Company's TRIBES
Nina Raine's Tribes tells the loud story of Billy, a young deaf man living amongst his opinionated, abrasive family who talk a lot but never stop to listen. When Billy meets Sylvia, a young woman who is going deaf, he learns what it's truly like to have someone listen and understand, something his family has just never bothered to do. As Billy and Sylvia's relationship grows, they learn from each other and their time spent with those in the deaf and hearing communities. The 2012 Drama Desk Award winner for Outstanding New Play, Tribes is a compelling and relevant drama that creates an important portrait of family dynamics and life's challenges.
Directed by Stuart Carden, Tribes features an impressive ensemble cast. In his professional stage debut, native Texan Tad Cooley successfully uses an English accent and learns sign language to create a masterful portrayal of Billy. Cooley is joined by Alex Hoeffler who skillfully portrays Billy's mentally-ill brother Daniel and Robin Abramson as Billy's sister Ruth. Rounding out the family as Billy's father and mother are John Judd as Christopher and Laurie Klatscher as Beth, both excellently acted. Completing the cast as Sylvia, Amanda Kearns also learned sign language and gracefully portrays a young women's journey through a great loss.
The Philadelphia Theatre Company's production of Tribes featured a two-story set of a London home stuffed full of books and eclectic yet homey furniture. To communicate words when none were spoken, the production utilized screens and projections to transfer words across the set.
Tribes is a smart, humorous and enjoyable family drama and well worth seeing. Philadelphia Theatre Company performances run through February 23, 2014. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org/.
Photo credit: Courtesy Philadelphia Theatre Company