In addition to a thorough examination of a loving but dysfunctional family, "Tribes" also delves into the politics and psychology of being deaf, going deaf and the deaf community's place in greater society.
Raine covers a lot of ground, so much at times that her script loses conciseness. But what makes this piece so compelling is the strikingly real family at its core and all the communicational divides they face — some auditory, others not.
These divides are bridged in a variety of ways throughout the play, including sign language, verbal translations of sign, crude pantomime and even raised voices.
The struggle to hear and be heard proves a painful endeavor for all the characters. Ultimately, some of their greatest triumphs of understanding occur, ironically enough, without resorting to language at all.
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