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Tribes - Off-Broadway

Mare Winningham and Jeff Perry star in Nina Raine's comedy.


What Is the Story of Tribes?
Tribes centers around a British couple and their three adult children—Daniel, Billy and Ruth, all of whom live at home. While the family engages in loud, heated and often politically incorrect debates around the dinner table, Billy, who is deaf from birth but has learned to read lips, tries desperately to catch up on the conversation. But because he can’t pick up the intricacies of the dialogue, Billy feels isolated and lonely. When he falls in love with Sylvia, a deaf woman who teaches him sign language, he learns an entirely new way to communicate his feelings, creating turmoil and confusion for his family.

Should I See It?

What is Tribes Like?
Tribes is a comedy-drama hybrid that is both raucously funny and intensely heartbreaking. David Cromer’s intimate staging is in the round, and the cast often performs only inches from the audience. Words and images are projected onto set pieces, walls and even audience members, transforming the production into an interactive theatergoing experience. Deaf actor Russell Harvard leads the strong ensemble cast in this moving story about family bonds and finding a voice.

Is Tribes Good for Kids?
No. Coarse dialogue, references to drugs and sexual innuendos are used throughout the production (in both English and sign language). Older teens may be interested in the play’s twenty-something characters, but while there is no nudity or graphic violence, this is a production parents should see first to determine the suitability of the subject matter.