"Tribes" graphicThe Forest Roberts Theatre presents


by Nina Raine

Presented in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre

February 10-14, 17-21, 2015

Showtimes: Tuesday - Saturday 7:30pm and 1:00pm on Saturdays

Tribes follows Billy, a deaf man raised inside the fiercely politically incorrect cocoon of his parent’s house. He has adapted to his hearing family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. It’s not until he meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood.​

Director Shelley Russell
Scenic and Lighting Director Victor G. Holliday
Costume Designer Susan Boyle
Sound Designer  Claire Alves †
Properties Master Emily Kinne †
Technical Director David Pierce
Production Stage Manager Liz Trueblood †

† indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.

* indicates work presented in partial fulfillment of the Senior Capstone.

TRIBES is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

TRIBES was commissioned and first presented by English Stage Company

at the Royal Court Theatre on 14 October 2010.

TRIBES was presented by Barrow Street Theatre, New York, NY in 2012

There will be one 12 minute intermission.


Christoper Tom Lee Theatre and Entertainment Arts '16 Waterford
Beth Jessica (Red) Bays Theatre/English '01 Marquette
Ruth Lily Howder Theatre and Entertainment Arts '18 Eau Claire, WI
Daniel James Porras II  Theatre/Music '16 Menominee
Billy John Scheibe * Theatre and Entertainment Arts '15 Iron Mountain
Sylvia Amanda Woods *  Theatre and Entertainment Arts ' 15 Marquette

† indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.

* indicates work presented in partial fulfillment of the Senior Capstone.


Additional Artistic Staff

Assistant Director Dakota Vogel †
Assistant Stage Manager Alexandra Marks †
Light Board Operator  Emily Kinne
Sound Board Operator Coop Bicknell †
Projections Operator Shane O'Connor †
Props Assistant James Porras II 
Props Crew Cecilia Smith
Run Crew Wes Beyer
Wardrobe Korinne Griffith


Production Acknowledgments

Landmark Inn Superior Hearing Aid Center
ArtVan  Household Appliance


Forest Roberts Theatre Staff

Costume Shop Supervisor Ann Juidici
Costume Shop Crew Lisa Bauer, Cecelia Holt, Allie Johnson, Lauren Slotta, Amanda Woods †
Scene Shop Foreman Steve McClain
Paint Charge Alexandra Marks 
Carpenters, Electricians and Painters Coop Bicknell †, Emily Kinne †, Calen Liverance, Shane O'Connor †, James Porras II, Dakota Vogel †, Dan Zini
Box Office Manager Mark Novak
Assistant Box Office Manager Rusty Bowers
Box Office Staff Sam Arsenault †, Jacob DeLong †, Korinne Griffith, Tom Lee, Nathan Morgan, Alysa Spivak
House Manager Alisha Arnsparger
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Tribes Cast Bios

Jessica Bays headshotJessica "Red" Bays (Beth) A Northern Michigan alumni, Jessica "Red" Bays graduated in 2001 with a major in English, minor in theater and speech communications. While attending Northern she appeared in many mainstage productions including Three Sisters, M.A.S.H., Top Girls, One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest, Dracula, Good Woman of Szechuan, and Much Ado About Nothing. From 1999-2001 "Red" toured the U.S. with "Poetry Alive", dramatizing poetry at both collegiate and high school levels. In 2002 she was a world premier member of George Sapio's Playwriting Award winner, Ghosts, which earned her an Irene Ryan nomination. While acting professionally in Lansing, Red was cast as Ouisa Kittredge in Six Degrees of Separation, and was nominated for a Pulsar Award for Best Leading Actress for her interpretation of the role. This role also caught the eye of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and she was chosen to headline the 2006 "Evening of Scenes" as Ouisa. Since her return to Marquette, Red has appeared in Lake Superior Theatre's production of Proof as Claire, Northern Michigan University's production of Cat on A Hot Tin Roof as Big Mama, Vertigo Theatre Company’s premier production of Rabbit Hole as Becca, Vertigo Theatre’s production of Fat Pig as Jeannie, Vertigo Theatre’s production of Macbeth as Lady Macbeth, Lake Superior Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night as Maria, and Westwood Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear as Goneril. She currently premiered as Elderly Norma Ross in the Marquette Regional History Center’s original production Willpower. In 2009 Red was honored with the City of Marquette’s Outstanding Performance Artist-given to a working community artist who has consistently made an impact in her artistic discipline. Red served on the First Nighters Club Advisory Board for Northern Michigan University, works as a puppeteer for Peter White Public Library, a storyteller and scholar for “Prime Time Family Reading Time” with the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is a co-founder of Marquette’s own Vertigo Theatre Company. Red currently works for the Marquette Regional History Center, where she promotes artists and historical programming in her city! Red's performance tonight is in memory of her Uncle Tom Hansen.

Lily Howder headshotLily Howder (Ruth) is a freshman studying theater here at Northern Michigan University. Tribes is her first main stage production and she also participated in the Ten Minute Play Festival this year. She is very excited to perform with this cast and is grateful for all of the friends in the department for being so welcoming. She wants to thank her parents as well for all of their support.

Tom Lee headshotTom Lee (Christopher) has been involved in the performing arts since the age of three. His background in theater began at the Birmingham Community Theater program in 1998, in Metro Detroit. Over the years, Tom has had performance training at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Program, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. He is a theater and entertainment arts major at Northern Michigan University, minoring in media production and new technologies. He hopes that you enjoy the production.

James Porras II headshotsJames Porras II (Daniel) is a senior theater major here at NMU. Recent roles include Clifford in Cabaret, Rutledge in 1776, Enjolras in Les Misérablesand the Baker in Into the Woods. James aspires to be on Broadway or in a Broadway National Touring Company someday. Much thanks to the cast and crew for being so wonderful to work with, and to Sarah and Shelley Russell for believing in him and keeping him inspired.

John Scheibe headshotJohn Scheibe (Billy) is a senior theater major at Northern Michigan University with a minor in music. He has most recently appeared on the FRT’s stage as Miles in the play She Kills Monsters. John has also appeared in various plays and musicals within the area which include: Pippin, Comedy of Errors, Fallujah and will appear as Jules in the upcoming local film Marlon. After his graduation in May 2015, John will be moving to New York City to passionately pursue a career as an actor.

Amanda Woods headshotAmanda Woods (Sylvia) came across Tribes while taking a beginning course in ASL, and immediately fell in love with the language as well as the play. She is a senior theater major, on her way to graduating at the end of the winter semester. Over the past four years she has appeared in She Kills Monsters (Lilith), Les Misérables (Ensemble), Haunted Theatre, and the Ten-Minute Play Festival. Ms. Woods has also been involved with backstage tech, and directed a ten-minute play (Fit for Feet) in the festival fall semester. She feels very fortunate to study with such talented peers and faculty members during the course of her time at NMU. Northern has fostered her self-confidence and passion for learning new things. She has had the opportunity to train in stage combat, set construction, costume design and construction, stage makeup, directing, and so many other invaluable skills that, universe willing, will only improve. Outside of the theatre, she is an avid reader, yogini, Hula Hooper, pet lover, and outdoor adventurer. After graduation, Amanda hopes to continue her theatrical studies, and looks forward to one day applying her knowledge and enthusiasm to starting her own theatre company.


Tribes Staff Bios


Shelley M. Russell (Director) is a professor of Theater Arts at Northern Michigan University, Dr. Russell has enjoyed a long and varied career in the performing arts. At NMU, she has directed over 60 productions, including Beauty and the Beast, Rent, Peter Pan and Hamlet. Dr. Russell also has a long list of credits for costume design (most recently, Chicago), and stage weaponry. Beginning her career as an actor and singer, she has remained active in musical theater, most recently seen as Berthe in Pippin. In the region, Shelley is perhaps best known for her playwriting efforts, which have been honored by the State of Michigan, the Michigan Historical Society, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Competition, the American College Theater Festival and the National Endowment for the Arts. These works include Holdin’ Our Own, a drama about the lake boat, Edmund Fitzgerald, a regional trio of musicals, Haywire, Beacon on the Rock, and Points North, and her most recent dramatic piece, Water, Woman. In 2011 Dr. Russell was honored by N.M.U. with the Distinguished Faculty Award.

Victor G. Holliday (Light and Set Design) has been the designer for The Forest Roberts Theatre since 1982, and also served as technical director from 1982-2000. He earned his bachelor of arts in psychology from St. Johns University (Minnesota), and his master of fine arts in scenic design from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Before coming to NMU, he was designer and technical director at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). Vic has also designed for summer and community theatres and dance companies in Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Outside of the theater, his major interests are history (particularly military and naval history) and ship modeling (pre-dreadnought steel navy), and he is an active ailurophile.

Susan Boyle (Costume Designer) is currently serving as the drama director at Marquette Senior High School and pursues post-baccalaureate study at NMU. Her recent credits include directing Annie Get Your Gun (Marquette Fine Arts Department) and costume design for the College Light Opera Company's 2014 summer season. You may recall her work at NMU a few years ago as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical and as the director of Avenue Q.

Claire Alves (Sound Designer) is a theater design and technology major with a minor in writing. She has worked on crew for Les Misérable (Forest Roberts Theatre) and She Kills Monsters (Forest Roberts Theatre). She has also assistant stage managed Comedy of Errors (Black Box Theatre) and Chicago (Forest Roberts Theater). She has also assistant sound designed A Paper Tiger in the Rain (Black Box Theatre).

David Pierce (Technical Director) David came to NMU from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky where he had been technical director for the Department of Theatre and Dance. Other TD credits include Adirondack Theatre Festival, Little Theatre on the Square, and Four Seasons Theatre Company. David holds a BS in construction management from Ferris State University and an MFA in theatre technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In his spare time, he loves to be outdoors. He enjoys hiking, boating, fishing, biking, and bonfires. He’s also a boisterous Tigers fan!

Elizabeth Trueblood (Production Stage Manager) is a sophomore at Northern Michigan University, currently majoring in English, with a double minor in theater and writing. Past performance and production credits include Les Misérables (Ensemble), A Paper Tiger in the Rain (Kelly), and She Kills Monsters (Assistant Stage Manager) at the Forest Roberts Theatre. She is extremely excited to be a part of Tribes, and would like to thank her family and friends for their never-ending love and support!

Alexandra Marks (Assistant Stage Manager) is a theater major with minors in music and art and design. Some of her favorite high school productions were Macbeth, The Wiz, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The matchmaker, Dark of the Moon. She has performed at the FRT in 1776 as Abigail Adams, Fallujah as Woman, Paulette in Legally Blonde, Kate Monster in Avenue Q (James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre), Ensemble in Les Misérables (FRT) and Adriana in Comedy of Errors. She also was a part of the Lake Superior Theatre 2013 season in Beacon on the Rock and Pirates of Penzance. She would like to thank her family and friends for all of their love and support. 

Dakota Vogel (Assistant Director) Dakota Vogel is a sophomore theater major here at NMU. Dakota's performance credits at NMU include A Comedy of Errors (Player) and She Kills Monsters (Monster Chorus). His technical credits include assistant stage manager of Chicago and director of A House of Cards in the Ten Minute Play Festival this fall. In his free time Dakota enjoys long walks on the beach and feasting on peanut butter cups.