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    Review: Tribes at Actors Theatre
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    Tribes by Nina Raine is language lover’s paradise.

    It is an intimate look at the dynamic interworkings of a highly-intelligent and extremely linguistic family—where the interplay between language and words are the focus; and the way that this dysfunctional family shows love.

    But one of their own is left in the shadows. One of their own is left out of the circle. Because one of their own, Billy, was born deaf.

    And although he grew up in this dynamic family of verbalists, and became a fluent lip reader in order to survive and adapt as a part of the family, he was apart from the family.

    Because Billy wasn’t included in those sharp conversations. He was never privy to the ins and outs of the arguments, jabs, and jokes that so often peppered the way his family talked with each other. He got the big picture, but missed out on the intricacies. For years.

    But then, Billy met Sylvia.

    And Sylvia was different.

    Because Sylvia, as a hearing woman who grew up in a deaf household, had a different perspective. And as Sylvia and Billy forged a relationship, they also forged understandings of each other and of themselves.

    The ensemble, led John Judd (playing a hilariously quirky Christopher) and talented Alex Olsen (Billy) is formidable, and has developed an easy chemistry onstage that makes it difficult to discern where real-life ends and acting begins. Several moments on opening night had such honest conversation that it truly felt that organic conversations were occurring.

    This well-formed cast, guided by director Evan Cabnet, has composed a poetic production that leads the audience alternately down paths of laughter and tears, to an ultimately heartwarming conclusion.

    Tribes is a study of communication. An exploration of family. An investigation of love. An acknowledgement of the multiplicity of all of those things; how they sometimes work, and how they often do not.

    It is a gifted glimpse at the interplay of family dynamics.

    Tribes continues at Actors Theatre through December 7. Tickets are available online or by calling the Actors Theatre box office at 502.584.1205.

    Image: Courtesy of B. Brymer/Actors Theatre

    Michelle Rynbrandt's picture

    About Michelle Rynbrandt

    Before landing in the Possibility City, Michelle toured the country performing in various regional theatres. Having been there and done that, she can honestly say that Louisville's cultural opportunities are second to none.

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