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  Play Details

Tribes

The Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. NW Washington

Billy was born deaf into a garrulous academic family who raised him to lip read and integrate into the hearing world. When he meets Sylvia-who's going deaf herself-Billy decides it's time to speak on his own terms, sending shock waves through the family. Playing out in sign language, argument, music, and mesmerizing silence, this sophisticated drama examines family, belonging, and the limitations of language. A moving and surprising play from a rising star of the British theatre, presented in cooperation with Gallaudet University Theatre Department.

Thru - Mar 16, 2014



Price: $39-$85

Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes with 1 intermission

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  Review Round-Up

DCTheatreScene - Highly Recommended

The dinner table is rarely just a place to plop your plate and in the case of the bourgeois English family depicted in Nina Raineís engrossing Tribes, it is an intellectual battlefield. Sloshing wine, banging utensils and talking over one another (all in Wilson Chinís Real Simple magazine fantasy of a bohemian household set), this family connects through voluble arguments about art, philosophy, linguistics, music and other academic ammunition.
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Jayne Blanchard


Washington Post - Recommended

"...Studio's artistic leader, David Muse, is equipped with the intelligence and finesse for this directorial assignment, and the cast he's assembled is acutely well-suited, from Caverly's deeply felt Billy to Cespedes's warmly self-possessed Sylvia. Richard Gallagher and Annie Funke give rewarding dimension to Billy's brother Daniel and sister Ruth, both dwelling unhappily in the shadow of their impatient, blunt-spoken father, Christopher, here portrayed by Michael Tolaydo with the enjoyably authentic-feeling air of the incurable crank."
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Peter Marks


MetroWeekly - Highly Recommended

"...Chances are you'll be more impressed the more you learn about how much time and effort Studio spent putting together this production, including extensive work and outreach with Gallaudet University and the many sign-language interpreters they've hired. All of it with an eye to try and accurately reflect, even in the smallest of details, the experience of deaf people. It's apparently an unprecedented effort, even in the backyard of what's considered the nation's best school for the deaf. Maybe it shouldn't have taken this long for such a collaboration. Certainly it's intriguing to think of what might result next."
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Doug Rule


City Paper - Recommended

"...What we say, what we hear, what we intuit, what tone and body language convey, what a look can say in silence-these are the texts and subtexts of Raine's wonderfully expressive play, a language drama that unfolds in at least three tongues. (And, in David Muse's fluid, fluent production, in the wonderfully apt projections, designed by Erik Trester, that play like water on the walls of Wilson Chin's cluttered, homey apartment set.) The story of Billy and his fractious clan is the story of a life on the border of communities, yes-and the story of everyone who's ever wondered whether they belong."
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Trey Graham


Washingtonian - Highly Recommended

"...Tribes, which won the 2012 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, is undoubtedly a funny and very thoughtful show, tackling heritage, identification, and disabilities of all kinds, from Billy's inability to hear to his father's inability to listen (and let's not forget the dark, mystical force that somehow keeps all three adult children living with their parents). Muse not only distinguishes all these moving parts but also forces them together in a way that makes this production democratic, as well as deeply communicative."
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Sophie Gilbert


DC Metro Theater Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Tribes introduces us to an eccentric, intellectual British family that shows it's love by how much time they spend grilling, degrading, and insulting you. It's not the easiest place to be if you have self esteem issues, but it's also the type of environment where you either sink or swim. This book smart, highly verbal family is unwittingly deaf and dumb to the sensitivities and emotional needs of each other, yet the cleverness of their repartee doesn't disguise the frailty of the characters."

Sydney-Chanele Dawkins


MD Theatre Guide - Highly Recommended

"...Tribes is clearly one of the best plays written in recent years (the 2013 winner of Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play), and this production, one of the best of the season, is an emotional tour de force that resonates intellectually long after the curtain has come down and the audience returned to its habits of thought and body."
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Robert Michael Oliver


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