Tribes Review

The seating, depth, and development of the characters is what makes Tribes an absolute must see at Legend.

By: Emily Byrd


In Tribes, the summer play, one of the main characters, Billy, is a deaf boy living in a hearing family, who, by chance, meets a girl who is going deaf, Sylvia. Throughout the show, she teaches Billy to find his voice in a family that refuses to listen. I highly recommend this play for the reason that it is so different from any other production done by Legend. The seating, depth, and development of the characters is what makes Tribes an absolute must see at Legend.

There are no word that do Tribes justice. Tribes is a unique play in many aspects, one of them being the seating, although, if you wanted to be on the stage, attendants can pay $5 which gets you even closer to the action . While an odd thing to mention, the seats surround the stage in a coliseum-like fashion. Filled with both chairs, plush cushions and pillows, this creative choice has allowed the audience to get up close and personal with the actors, it is as if the audience member is from the outside looking in, almost as though they are looking through the window into a house. As the audience gets comfortable on their cushions, slowly each actor comes on stage. Already in character, the audience gets a true impression that they are peering into the family’s home. As the minutes tick past, the audience grows eager. Once the audience is situated-the lights dim, a single spotlight is placed on the door and the show begins.


Tribes is a show that is best to walk into it without knowing what it is truly about. The story unfolds before your eyes as it progresses–a seemingly destructive family and a deaf young boy meets a going deaf girl. The play presents a topic not usually discussed about in pop culture, the community of the deaf-and yet, Tribes does it perfectly. The audience truly feels and experiences the emotions of the characters and how being deaf, or how losing ones’ hearing can take its toll on a family. Not only that, but we see each character’s personal conflict. This gives each character depth and the ability to develop and grow throughout the play.

Ms. Palko, the theater teacher and director of the play, comments on what Tribes means to her. “The show itself for me, the first time I read it-I cried. The second time I read it, I was like oh my gosh I can’t, we can’t like, I can’t do this, this is too hard.  And then the third time I read it, I started visualizing and seeing it in my head and started seeing actors here as different characters and different parts. The summer stock show for me is the show where we have an opportunity, because it’s a smaller cast, to do things that we don’t normally get to do on the main stage shows. I get to work with the students as a director instead of a technical director which is cool. The cast and crew get much closer because they get to work much more closely together. This particular production for me is the epitome of what it means to persevere through something that you think is too big, or you think is too scary and you think you can never accomplish because this is the hardest show I’ve ever done in my career,” Palko said.

The production is so much more than just another show at Legend High School. It is an emotional journey about what it means to find your voice in a world that refuses to listen. It represents the struggle of having to be resilient even when it seems easier to just give up. I remember walking out of the theater feeling completely moved by the characters and their struggles. I wasn’t expecting a high school production to tackle this kind of a topic, but I’m so glad they did.

This play is a play meant to be remembered here at Legend from the set, to the characters, to the characters, as well as the  meaning and emotional journey this show makes a huge impact on anyone who goes to see it. This is an outstanding example of what Legend’s theater program is capable of.

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