“Tribes” will soon take the stage at Glenbrook North. The Winter Play is about a deaf boy, Billy, who grew up in a hearing family, and his relationship with a girl named Sylvia who is becoming deaf.
“When Sylvia meets Billy, who reads lips, she opens up his world by teaching him sign language,” director Julie Ann Robinson said.
Sylvia is played by GBN junior Erin Rosenfeld who says the play is very important to her; she too is hard of hearing.
“There is rarely ever any deaf representation in the media, and when there is, deaf characters are often played by hearing actors,” Rosenfeld said. “Because of this, I think it’s incredibly exciting that GBN is doing a show about deaf characters. I am really excited to bring elements of my own life to the stage.”
Rosenfeld has been very involved with GBN productions in the past, but this is the first time she will get to use sign language onstage.
“I love this role so much,” Rosenfeld said. “I can share Sylvia’s sadness over losing her hearing and her grief over being unable to hear things such as music or laughter. But at the same time, I share her fierce love for sign language and the deaf community. Seeing a character who is similar to yourself is very powerful, and I truly hope to give that sort of power to at least one person in the audience.”
Robinson said she has enjoyed working on “Tribes” with Rosenfeld because she has brought so much to the rehearsal process.
“Erin is able to help the cast understand the nuances of the script,” Robinson said. “She is insightful and approachable, and she is always on top of her game. It’s been a real pleasure working with her.”
If you go:
The show starts at 7:00 pm Thursday, December 7th, Friday, December 8th and Saturday, December 9th in the Sheely Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $8, and can be purchased at the door or online. Signers will be onsite for those in need of sign interpretation. Email director Julie Ann Robinson, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.