Tribes set for Artists Rep - Theatre News - Theatre In Portland
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Tribes set for Artists Rep
Jan 17, 2015

TribesSweeping the nation at luminary theatre companies like Steppenwolf, Barrow Street Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse after originating at London's Royal Court Theatre, Tribes by Nina Raine will open on Artists Rep's Alder Stage starting February 3.

The Northwest Premiere of this tense and compelling play, directed by Artists Rep's Artistic Director Damaso Rodriguez and features a stellar cast of Artists Rep Resident Artists and favorites alongside Hard-of-Hearing actor Stephen Drabicki, who has played the role of Billy three times before to critical acclaim.

In an interview for the production's playbill, Stephen said "The strength of the play lies in how it makes the audience feel ... the dramatic tension created by the tribal relationships, and the play's sharp, witty, irreverent, and at times, even poetic, dialogue."

"While the specific dramatic questions raised in Tribes involve one young man encountering Deaf Culture, the play explores so many universally valid, important and opposing viewpoints on family, belonging, otherness, language, communication, connection, culture, parenting, identity and responsibility," said Damaso Rodriguez, Artists Rep's Artistic Director who is directing Tribes. "Ultimately, Tribes is not about a particular group, but rather how we all seek to belong to a community we can call our own, and in doing so, how we too often fail to listen."

Tribes is a scintillating contemporary drama centered around Billy, the only deaf member of his family, whose search for family acceptance sparks often funny, but fierce, tensions at home. He was raised inside an idiosyncratic and politically incorrect cocoon where his family did not allow him to learn sign language or be involved in the Deaf Community. It is not until he meets a young woman, Sylvia, who is on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood. Grappling with the significance of language and the urge to belong, this Portland debut follows triumphant productions Off-Broadway, at London's Royal Court and Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

Tribes first premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London on October 14, 2010, where it was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Play. The show then premiered in New York Off-Broadway in March of 2012 at the Barrow Street Theatre. The production was directed by David Cromer and featured performances by Will Brill, Russell Harvard, Susan Pourfar, Gayle Rankin, Jeff Perry and Mare Winningham. In 2012, Tribes swept up several awards and nominations including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Play. David Cromer again directed Tribes in March 2013 at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and then again at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego later that year. In the last couple of years, Tribes has been produced at numerous regional theatres including Steppenwolf Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, and most recently, Berkeley Repertory Theatre.