Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Theater Review: Red Turnip Theater’s “TRIBES” Is About Listening Through Your Heart

Communication is the key to a lasting relationship. But what if your loved one was born deaf? This is the premise of “Tribes”, a riveting play produced by Red Turnip Theater and was staged at Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit, Makati City.

Red Turnip Theater

“Tribes” follows the story of Billy who was born deaf. He was raised by a dysfunctional family who never taught him how to do sign language as he was growing up. He wore hearing aid, and learned to read lips. He met Sylvia, a woman who was not deaf when she was born, but due to genetics (her parents were both deaf), she was slowly losing her hearing. Billy fell in love with Sylvia and asked her to teach him how to do sign language. The conflict began when Billy introduced Sylvia to his family, but he was not speaking anymore. He was doing sign language, instead, which his family did not know how to interpret.

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Kalil Almonte ("Billy")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Angela Padilla ("Sylvia")

Written for stage by Nina Raine and directed by Topper Fabregas, this poignant story was given justice by a stellar ensemble led by by Kalil Almonte as “Billy” (who has been one of my favorite theater actors, from the time I saw him in “Kwentong Komyut”), Angela Padilla as “Sylvia”, Teroy Guzman as “Cristopher” (Billy's father), Dolly de Leon as “Beth” (Billy's mother), Chris Pasturan as “Daniel” (Billy's brother), and Thea Yrastorza as “Ruth” (Billy's sister).

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Teroy Guzman ("Christopher")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Dolly de Leon ("Beth")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Chris Pasturan ("Daniel")

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
With Thea Yrastorza ("Ruth")

“Tribes” is one of those plays that you will be thankful that you have seen, because it brings you to an unfamiliar world – or, a familiar world, which you just don’t understand that much. For example, we have seen deaf people communicating with each other through sign language. But, we haven’t really understood – nor have we become interested – in their issues, struggles, and frustrations.

Red Turnip Theater's "TRIBES"
The set of "TRIBES" at Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit, Makati City

After watching the play, I realized that I should listen more, especially to the ones I love. More important than listening through the ears is listening through the heart.

Truly one of the best, “Tribes” will be shown until September 4, 2016. Visit Red Turnip Theater’s fanpage for updates.