Tribes is a play which builds bridges between several elements. It navigates the intersection of love and language. What does it mean to communicate? Where is the meeting ground between noise and understanding?
It asks questions regarding restriction and autonomy. How do we relate to one another and to our ourselves within a group? What are the challenges within families, belonging, and demands of a community?
What role do you play and how does she fit into the story?
I play Sylvia, a CODA (child of deaf adults), who meets Billy and changes his direction in life. She empowers him: with language, with agency and with love. She is dynamic, magnetic, strong headed. As often comes with those traits, she is also mercurial, temperamental and clawing for help.
What do you find challenging about playing Sylvia?
Sylvia has lived her life acting as a support system for those around her. She is proud of her dual life in the deaf world and the hearing one. It gives her freedom and a deeply rooted sensibility of the world.
The play follows her as she begins to feel adrift between two identities and must reckon with the balance of hearing loss and her own deaf gain.
That is a challenge to portray: to give breadth to each element, and to imbue her with empathy and anger, love and self-hatred.
Another fun enterprise is to give her an authentic body and spacial awareness true to those who grow up in the deaf community...It goes far beyond learning ASL.
However, studying ASL for the past several months has been an immense reward, and I have 3 people to thank for that: Stuart Soboleski, Alex Lynch & Patrick Galasso. They shared with me their time and their enormous knowledge to develop a meaningful vernacular and style for Sylvia, a native signer. I am honored to share our work with you and to continue relationships with those in the deaf community after this performance.
What is exciting about TRIBES?
Nina Raine has written a gorgeous piece. The language is enigmatic, brutal, playful, and charming. It is a linguistic playground, full of nuance and allusion. The characters are like animals in a cage fight, and the prize is freedom and love.
It is not to be missed.