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Nina Raine

April 24 - May 10, 2014

Gala Opening: Thurs., April 24, 7pm


When hearing isn't enough



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Nina Raine

April brings the 2012 Drama Desk Award-winner for "Outstanding Play", Nina Raine's Tribes. Ms. Raine's compelling story follows Billy, a deaf man raised inside the fiercely idiosyncratic and unrepentantly politically incorrect cocoon of his parents' house. He has adapted brilliantly to his hearing family's humorously unconventional ways, but they've never bothered to return the favor. Its not until he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be unconditionally loved and understood. "In addition to a thorough examination of a loving but dysfunctional family, Tribesalso delves into the politics and psychology of being deaf, going deaf and the deaf community's place in greater society." - The Huffington Post.

Other Desert Venues!!

FUSION Theatre Company is growing! We're thrilled to announce performances beyond our home for the past ten years, The Cell. FUSION will present Tribes:

Thursday, Apr. 24, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM GALA OPENING
Friday, Apr. 25, The Cell, ABQ, 6PM SOLD OUT!
Saturday, Apr. 26, The Cell, ABQ, 2PM (matinee) SOLD OUT!
Saturday, Apr. 26, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM SOLD OUT!
Sunday, Apr. 27, The Cell, ABQ, 6PM SOLD OUT!
Tuesday, Apr. 29, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM
Wednesday, Apr. 30, The Cell, ABQ, 8PM
Friday, May 2, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, 8PM
Saturday, May 3, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, 2PM (matinee)
Saturday, May 3, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, 8PM
Special Pay What You Wish just announced:
Thursday, May 8, Wool Warehouse, ABQ, 8PM
This performance will be American Sign Language interpreted.


For tickets and information call 766-9412 or click here:
  • Free parking is plentiful in our lot just north of the theatre. The Cell is located at 700 1st St. N.W., just west of Broadway and south of Lomas
  • Parking in Santa Fe is available at a number of inexpensive public lots in the immediate vicinity of the Lensic.

Review, Talkin' Braodway, by Wally Gordon:

"'Language is worthless.'" This sentence read from a draft of an abortive thesis could just as well be the epitaph for the five characters trapped in a web of silences and screams in Tribes, the fascinating and challenging new play currently being presented by the FUSION Theatre in Albuquerque.

In complex and multilayered ways, the young British playwright Nina Raine toys with the incapacity of language and those who use it. In an emotionally climactic moment at the end of the play, a physical embrace says everything that two hours of linguistic wordplay by five highly creative characters has been unable to communicate.

At the easiest level, this is a play about deafness. Billy is born deaf and his girlfriend Sylvia (Caitlin Aase) has inherited a genetic flaw that is progressively shutting down her hearing until she finally becomes totally deaf. "I can't even hear myself," she mourns late in the play.
This couple does and does not communicate on several levels. Sylvie has learned sign language but Billy has not. Billy can read lips brilliantly but Sylvie struggles. At one point Billy decides to communicate with his parents and siblings only through sign language, which none of them understands. So as he signs, Sylvie translates, the words he signs are flashed on the wall above the actors' heads, and the rest of the family replies orally. The effect is as if four different languages are being spoken, communicating four different and contradictory messages.

The barriers to communication do not end there. During set changes and sometimes during the action, music plays at blasting volume, including opera, Janis Joplin songs, classical symphonic passages, and one electronic piece. The members of Billy's family have normal talking voices that are just a shade less than a full-throated scream, especially the father Christopher (Gary Houston). They are yelling not so that Billy can understand them (he can't) but so that they can drown each other out, for they almost never take the trouble to actually hear each other. Each lives his or her own life in a kind of one-person shell, which in turn is swaddled in this "unconventionally conventional family."

All are creative. The mother Beth (Laurie Thomas) is blocked writing a novel. The older son Daniel (Peter Diseth) is struggling to write a graduate thesis. Both are failing. The sister Ruth (Kate Mura) is a failed opera singer. Only the father manages to succeed. All four also play the piano, which sits unused in the middle of the set for most of the play. These writers who can't write and the singer who can't sing and the pianists who don't play are complemented by the speech difficulty of Daniel, who stutters.

The language of this play is biting, sophisticated, fast-paced and highly intellectual, with a constant stream of obscenities thrown in for good measure. But the language is more designed to hide than reveal feelings.

Depicting deafness poses special challenges, especially for director Jacqueline Reid. A physician in the audience, an ear, nose and throat specialist who has treated some deaf people, pointed out that a person born deaf never learns to speak with the same fluency as a hearing person, yet Billy speaks with great naturalness. The physician also questioned the accuracy of a family inheriting degenerative deafness. Third, Billy can only "hear" by lip reading, but in the second act, for example, his sister stands behind him making comments to which he replies.

In other ways, however, the complexities of this play are smoothly coordinated. The set is functional and attractive, the numerous scene changes are handled smoothly as music, sometimes harsh and sometimes achingly romantic, blasts the audience, and the words cast on the wall add a whole other dimension to the spoken words. It is obvious that this has not been an easy play to direct.

Tribes accurately reflects some of the debates of the deaf community, such as between raising a deaf youngster to sign versus lip read and whether to immerse a child in a deaf community or have him live and go to school with the hearing.

The acting is this production is magnificent and thoroughly convincing. While Houston, Thomas, Aase and Diseth are FUSION veterans, Mura is a newcomer from Portland, Oregon, who has had extensive experience in the Northwest and Australia as well as on television. The big surprise of the evening is Levi Shrader, a young man whose strength, both as actor and as the character Billy, gradually and impressively take over the stage."

Review, New York Times, by Ben Brantley:
"Have you heard? Are you listening to me? What did you just say? Most of us ask variations on those questions at least a dozen times a day. But it’s unlikely that they vibrate with the resonance they acquire in Nina Raine’s Tribes, a smart, lively and beautifully acted new play that asks us to hear how we hear, in silence as well as in speech."

Review,, by Erik Haagensen:
"What a pleasure it is to encounter Nina Raine's distinctive comedy-drama Tribes. This story of what happens to a fiercely intellectual, relentlessly competitive, "conventionally unconventional" (as one character puts it) English family when its youngest member, the sweet-natured Billy, who is deaf, steps into his maturity is ruthlessly unsentimental and well-observed."

Review, The New Yorker, by John Lehr
"In Raine’s subtle and scintillating new play (elegantly directed by David Cromer, at the Barrow Street Theatre), silence is the shadow that lends brilliance to the hubbub around the bohemian, intellectual upper-middle-class British family dining table where the play is set. Raine shrewdly builds this dense canopy of sound around Billy’s silence, in order to make the narrative of his oppressive solitude and his subsequent liberation from it more than just a problem play about the hearing-impaired. “Tribes” is as much about the tyranny of language as it is about the misery of not being able to hear it. "

Tribes Cast

Gary Houston

Gary Houston* (Christopher) appeared in FUSION's productions of Bedbound, The Unexpected Man, Anna Christie and Time Stands Still. In recent Chicago shows he acted in Uncle Vanya, Mauritius, Unchanging Love, The Tempest, Nelson & Simone, Airline Miles, A Raisin in the Sun, Princess Turandot and 2 1/2 Jews, and in recent productions in Michigan he was in Voice of Good Hope, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Permanent Collection and Heroes. Off-Broadway: Organic Theater's Bleacher Bums. As a director he has staged Midwest premieres of plays by Samuel Beckett, Peter Handke, David Hare, Fernando Arrabal, Heathcote Williams and Ted Whitehead. Film: Fargo, Proof, Watchmen, Hoffa, The Blues Brothers, Raw Deal, The Express and the New Mexico-shot The Astronaut Farmer and, in the title role, Good Luck, Mr. Gorski. Gary has been a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 1978.

Laurie Thomas
Laurie Thomas* (Beth) is a Co-Founder and Artistic Associate of FUSION in addition to her work as an actor, writer and a member of Albuquerque Academy’s Performing Arts Faculty. Some highlights of her professional acting career include the West Coast premiere of Cheryl L. West’s Jar the Floor, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival’s Two Gentleman of Verona with Annette Bening and the premiere production of Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre. Since FUSION’s inception in 2001, Laurie has had the actor’s dream of playing some of the most iconic and challenging roles in the theatrical canon including “Blanche Dubois”, “Linda Loman” and “Violet Weston” in Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County. Her most recent work directing FUSION’s production of The Mountaintop marks her sixteenth year directing professionally. Ms. Thomas trained at The Drama Studio of London. Laurie has been a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 1990.

Caitlin Aase
CAITLIN AASE† (Sylvia) is delighted to be returning to FUSION after appearing in Paloma and the Mayan Flute. Caitlin is an Albuquerque native, but recently transplanted to Chicago where she appeared in The Bacchae Revisited (Woman, Right Brain Project), The Passion of Dracula (Van Helsing, Theatre-Hikes), The Snow Queen, Or When Christmas Freezes Over! (Ma/Snowbee, Piccolo Theatre), and Alchemy of Desire/Dead Man's Blues (Jamie, Two Tongues Theatre Collective). She is also an ensemble member with The Shakespeare All-Stars. She received a B.A. in Theatre Arts and French from Drew University and studied at the London Dramatic Academy.

Peter Diseth

PETER DISETH† (Daniel) is honored to be working with FUSION again after appearing in The Other Place, The Seven: Failure to Communicate, The Lost Ending, Overruled and The Seven: Tangled Webs. Since moving to Albuquerque in 2009, he's worked on more than twenty productions with eight different companies. Some non-FUSION favorite local credits include: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (ALT); Wooden Snowflakes (Duke City Rep); Love Song and Moby Dick (Mother Road); Long Day's Journey Into Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and Glengarry Glen Ross (Vortex). Peter also often works with Chamber Theatre in Boston, a nationally-touring children's production company, as actor and director. He received his B.F.A. in Acting and B.S. in Directing from Southern Oregon University. Peter is a proud Equity Membership Candidate.

Kate Mura

Kate Mura† (Ruth) is thrilled to finally get to collaborate with FUSION. Based out of Portland OR, she is the Artistic Ambassador of Fuse Theatre Ensemble (loves the name kismet) and is recently back from a world tour of her solo mask show, Suburban Tribe, lauded as "a MUST catch show" of the Adelaide Fringe Festival and one of TheaterJones' 5 Best Small Tours; FUSION also hosted a run of Suburban Tribe in November. Regionally, she has worked with Portland Center Stage, Artist's Repertory Theatre, Theatre at the Center, The Goodman Theatre and Seattle Repertory. Some favorite roles include “Amiens” (As You Like It), “Scrooge” (Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol), “Professor Cat” (Pinocchio), “Juliet” and “Mercutio” (in two different productions of Romeo & Juliet), “Helga” (Kindertransport) and “Beatrice” (Servant of Two Masters). She has been seen on NBC's Grimm and in Gus Van Sant's Restless. She is a graduate of the DePaul Theatre School and the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, a Leslie O. Fulton Fellowship Award Winner, as well as a proud member of I.A.T.S.E. and an EMC.

Levi Shrader

Levi Shrader† (Billy) is a Virginia-based actor and delighted to be joining FUSION for the first time. His Virginia-based work includes Henry IV Part 1, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Woman in Black with the Rude Mechanical Theatre Group. Produced written works include In Your Mother's Garden, which premiered as part of the 2014 Mid-Winter Madness Theatre Festival in NYC, and Hardships Jeer Love, which premiered as part of the New York City Avant-Garde Theatre Festival. He is a graduate of Christopher Newport University.

Skye Watterberg

Skye Watterberg (U/S Sylvia, Ruth) is a junior at Albuquerque Academy. This is her inaugural FUSION production. Her Academy credits include: Oklahoma!, Oliver!, The Sound of Music, Grease, Blame It on the Movies, Catch Me If You Can, Being Will, and Don’t Drink the Water.

* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States

† Equity Membership Candidate

You bet! I'd like to be reminded of coming events!

director, Jacqueline Reid