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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

‘Tribes’ speaks to the struggle to be heard

Director M. Bevin O’Gara is in a rehearsal room at the Calderwood Pavilion, giving notes to the SpeakEasy Stage Company cast of “Tribes.” She is talking directly to actor Joey Caverly, but he isn’t looking at her. Instead, his gaze is on an interpreter who is translating into American Sign Language. The conversation is animated and seamless, without the unnatural pauses that occur when something gets lost in translation. Caverly disagrees with O’Gara on a small point, and they amiably agree to try the scene another way.

Caverly, who is deaf, plays Billy, the central character in Nina Raine’s 2010 award-winning play, which began its New England premiere at the Calderwood Friday and runs through Oct. 12. The play is a mix of ASL and spoken English, and O’Gara says she implicitly trusts the show’s two interpreters, Jessica Doonan and Kristina Miranda. “Collaboration has to be a part of our process,’’ she says. “I could not do this play unless they understood my vision, because everything I say has to get filtered through a different individual.”

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