BWW Reviews: Philadelphia Theatre Company's TRIBES

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

Photo credit: Courtesy Philadelphia Theatre Company

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Rebecca Goering Rebecca Goering is excited to share her love of Philadelphia theatre with! Trained in voice and piano, Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in both music and theatre production from the University of Delaware. She loves all aspects of theatre and has assumed a great assortment of roles in acting, stage managing and directing throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Rebecca is currently the Associate Director of Marketing & Communications for the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. Rebecca was also the founder/editor-in-chief of the blog,, for which she received national recognition and critical acclaim.


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