Chance Theater Blog

Chance Theater proudly presents the Orange County Premiere of Tribes

Nina Raine’s theatrical exploration of language, voice, and family starts September 24 on the Cripe Stage at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center.


Written by Nina Raine and directed by Marya Mazor, Tribes will preview from September 24 through September 29; regular performances will begin September 30 and continue through October 22.

Billy, the only deaf child in a family that could hear, was raised inside the family’s fiercely idiosyncratic and politically incorrect cocoon.  His family is determined to raise him like a “normal” child — training him to read lips instead of learning sign language. Billy adapts brilliantly to his family’s unconventional ways without truly feeling what it’s like to be heard. It’s not until Billy meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he is finally introduced to the Deaf community that his family sheltered him from his entire life. As Billy tries to find his identity among his true family, his interactions with the deaf community reveal that they are the ones who truly understand how important it is for him to be understood.

In an interview with Steppenwolf Theater Company, playwright Nina Raine explains she was inspired to write Tribes after watching a documentary about a deaf couple. “They wanted their baby to be born deaf,” she said, “and then I kind of thought, ‘yeah, but we all want our kids to display some sort of aspect of ourselves.’ because in a way, there’s some ego and vanity in having children and creating your own dominion.”



Chance Theater wants to ensure that Deaf audience members can also enjoy this production. So for the first time, there will be ASL interpreters present at select performances. They will be standing to the side of the main action on stage.

  • Friday, September 29 at 8:00pm
  • Sunday, October 8 at 3:00pm
  • Friday, October 13 at 8:00pm
  • Thursday, October 19 at 7:30pm

These performances will be interpreted by Christine Bartley or Kiana Bjur.


For more information, please visit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our newsletter!

Blog Home