Family dynamics come out in “Tribes”

By From page B4 | August 27, 2014

Capital Stage opens its 10th Anniversary Season, themed Moving Between Worlds: The Ever-Changing Human Landscape, with “Tribes” by Nina Raine.

The Wall Street Journal calls “Tribes” “the best-written, best plotted, deepest, most daring-and funniest-new play in recent years.” Winner of the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, “Tribes” has received critical acclaim in both the United States and United Kingdom. Capital Stage’s Production will be directed by co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Jonathan Williams, and will run Sept. 3 through Oct. 5.

The play
Billy, who is deaf, is the only one who actually listens in his idiosyncratic, fiercely argumentative, bohemian family. But when he meets, Sylvia, who is going deaf, he decides he finally wants to be heard. With sharp dialogue and compassionate insights, Raine crafts a penetrating play about belonging, family and the limitations of communication.

“Doing a play that embraces the deaf community carries with it a tremendous level of responsibility,” Williams said. “Not only do we have an artistic responsibility, but we also had to understand the logistical issues of interacting with deaf patrons and serving their particular needs. That’s why this play is so great, because it forces the hearing community to experience a deaf world, even if only for a few moments.”

“Tribes” had its North American premiere at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York in 2012 where it won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award. “Tribes” has also been produced in Hamburg, Budapest, Sao Paolo, Zargreb, Wellington and Melbourne. There are 13 upcoming productions in the United States, including at the Steppenwolf, Chicago.

The playwright
Raine began her career as a trainee director at the Royal Court Theatre after graduating from Oxford. She dramaturged and directed “Unprotected” at the Liverpool Everyman (TMA Best Director Award, Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award). Her debut play, “Rabbit,” premiered at the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2006 and transferred to the West End before going to New York. “Rabbit” won the Charles Wintour Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. Her commission for the Royal Court Theatre, “Tribes,” directed by Roger Michell, won an Offie Award and was also nominated for both Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for best new play. “Tribes” opened to rave reviews and won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Best New Play and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. It is currently one of the top produced plays of 2014.

The production
Williams directs the ensemble featuring Lol Levy, Jamie Jones, Ben Ismail, Elizabeth Holzman, Brittni Barger and Stephen Drabicki, a hard-of-hearing actor who appeared in the recent Toronto premiere of “Tribes,” a performance that was widely praised.

Because the play explores the world of the deaf community, Capital Stage will be working with Tracy Brennan-Spaulding and Teresa Sedano of Artistic Sign Language, who will serve as the production’s sign language consultant so that the production can properly represent the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and their language. The production will also have two ASL (American Sign Language)-interpreted performances for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, and 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

Performances for “Tribes” will begin with three previews at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3, and 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 4 & 5. The production will open at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, and performances continue through Oct. 5. Showtimes will be Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. General ticket prices range from $26 to $36. Discount tickets are available as follows: preview tickets are $20; Student Rush tickets are half-priced; senior tickets are $2 regular-priced tickets (excluding Saturday evenings); and group rates are available for parties of 12 or more. Tickets are currently available at the Capital Stage box office, by phone at (916) 995-5464, or online at capstage.org.

Capital Stage


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