Theater: ‘Tribes’ is the story of a deaf man, played by a deaf man

ENTB_Tribes_0912

Joey Caverly plays a deaf man living in the hearing world in “Tribes.” For Caverly, the role is easier to embody than it might be for other actors — he’s deaf as well.

“I can understand the acceptance that Billy seeks, the sense of belonging he desires,” says the actor, through an email conversation with Metro, who speaks, lip-reads and signs while depicting the lead character in the show, Billy.

Raised by a hearing family, Billy learned to speak and read lips rather than use sign language. But then he’s introduced to the deaf community, prompting him to question where he really belongs.

Caverly’s upbringing wasn’t the same as Billy’s. But he knows what it feels like to be surrounded by peers who don’t understand sign language. He’s experienced the struggle to keep up with conversations, the isolation and the loneliness.

“That communication barrier is a big handicap in our lives,” says Caverly.

He joins this play after two years working with the National Theatre for the Deaf. As one might imagine, training and performing are a bit different for deaf actors.

“Sign language requires the use of facial expressions and body language to convey words and emotions, so it’s easier for a deaf actor than a hearing actor to determine what their face and body should say when delivering a line,” explains Caverly.

When speaking, actors use different tones and stress certain words to relay emotion to an audience. In a similar fashion, Caverly says that deaf actors have to decide what level of signing to use: “Is the signing more posh or more grassroots? Academic versus street sign? Is the signing more artistic, creating pictures through hands rather than explaining word-for-word?” he explains.

This play isn’t just about the struggle between the deaf and hearing worlds, however.

“Anybody who hates and loves their family needs to see this show,” says Caverly. “It’s about a dysfunctional family that needs each other, that leans on one another, and shows love through confrontations and disputes.”

“Tribes”
Through Oct. 12
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St., Boston
$25-$60, 617-933-8600
speakeasystage.com


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.

Local

(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Arts

'Becoming Cuba' at Huntington is a bit short…

Playwright Melinda Lopez freely lampoons the English language for its lack of passion in her latest work, “Becoming Cuba.” Ironically, the Huntington Theatre Company’s playwright-in-residence…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

NFL

Patriot’s schedule comes up fair

Those looking for built-in excuses for the Patriots 2014-2015 season will have to look elsewhere, because their schedule came up fair. For the fourth straight…

MLB

Nava demoted, Victorino return imminent

  Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who was batting a team-low .149/.240/.269, was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. "His struggles at the plate, I…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.