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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

NMU CARES — President Brock Tessman shares his feelings on the universitys new CARE Team. Photo Courtesy of Northern Michigan University
Letter to the Editor — Our New CARE Team
Brock TessmanFebruary 23, 2024

Unconventional play, ‘Tribes,’ runs at Black Box

The dim lights turn bright, and we are thrown into a full-blown family argument, with one of the siblings sitting quietly in the corner. 

Black Box Theatre presents “Tribes,” a play that follows an unconventional family based in England. The main character, Billy, is deaf. His family is constantly bantering and in competition with each other. The dynamics of this disgruntled family  switch from humorous to serious. Billy has two siblings, Dan and Ruth, who are both struggling to find their purpose in life. Dan is a frustrated academic, while Ruth is an aspiring opera singer.

Their parents, Christopher and Beth, are both writers always trying to one-up each other. Billy is usually sitting quietly in the corner during the arguments, and right from the beginning you can tell he is a special character. Then Billy meets Sylvia, a girl who is slowly going deaf and that’s where the play takes shape.

Shelley Russell, director of the show, said at first she was hesitant to direct this play.

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“When I read the first five pages, I was a little insulted,” Russell said. “But by page 10, I knew I had to direct it.”

The play’s unconventional story and the lessons  underneath are what drew Russell to want to bring “Tribes” to life.

“Emotions are so prevalent. The play is all about language and communication,” Russell said. “There’s so much rage, so much anger.”

The cast and Russell started rehearsals for “Tribes” in the fall. At the first reading, the cast bonded and talked about the different relationships and scenes throughout the play.  John Scheibe, who plays Billy, said he couldn’t have asked for a better group of actors to work with for his senior capstone performance.

“They’re a fantastic group of actors,” Scheibe said. “The energy is constant. You barely have to act.”

Senior theater and entertainment majors Scheibe and Amanda Woods, who plays  Sylvia, chose this play for their capstone performances because it allowed them to show their talents as well as challenge them because some portions of the play were done in sign language.

“The play definitely was challenge-appropriate,” Scheibe said.

Woods  said she had a  base knowledge of how to do sign language  before doing “Tribes.”

“Tribes” will be running every day at 7:30 p.m. until Thursday Feb. 21 at the Black Box Theatre.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Thomas Fine Arts building. The Black Box is located in McClintock.

“Tribes”  shows the struggles of being a 20-something trying to make a name for himself.

Whether it is deafness or being a part of a feuding, mostly disapproving family, being young has its troubles.

Russell said college students could relate to this play and encouraged all to come and watch.

“This is really about a young people’s group. They could really relate to the characters,” Russell said. “It’s about people in their mid-20’s trying to find their    adult selves.”

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