Posted March 10, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Dallas Theater Center
You know how sometimes when you laugh at something that’s not really supposed to be funny, the fact that it’s sort of inappropriate just makes it funnier?That’s how it is with Tigers Be Still. It’s a comedy about depression.
Sugary sweet Sherry (Abbey Siegworth) has pledged to stop being a total disaster and has landed a job as an art therapist.Entertaining clients at her ‘home office’ is a bit of a challenge however since Sherry’s despondent sister Grace (Aleisha Force), who recently called off her wedding due to a cheating fiance, has now camped out on the sofa with her new love ... Jack Daniels.Sherry’s first patient is Zack (Christopher Sykes), the snarky, angst-ridden son of her boss, Joseph (Chamblee Ferguson), principal at the middle school where Sherry also works as an art teacher. Despair looms dangerously about them all like the tiger that has recently escaped from the local zoo.
Written by Kim Rosenstock (a staff writer on the Fox TV series New Girl), Tigers Be Still is a brief examination of the different ways that each character deals with his pain. Sherry tries to pick herself up by the bootstraps and move on.Helping others helps her.Her completely disheveled sister Grace on the other hand, steals random items from her fiance's place (including his gaming equipment and two Chihuahuas) and, in one of the funniest moments of the play, sings lyrics from “The Rose” to his answering machine. Wielding a rifle, Principal Joseph is set on defending the town from the tiger at large while simultaneously protecting himself and his son from the overwhelming grief surrounding the loss of his wife.
It is through Joseph's son Zack however that we witness one of the worst kinds of guilt trauma and come to understand that everyone is weird and dangerous in some way.After losing jobs at CVS and Walgreens due to anger management issues involving feminine hygiene products and aged chocolate bunnies, Zach ultimately encounters the tiger, coming face to face with the physical as well as emotional dangers that threaten his well being.
Directed by Hal Brooks, Tigers Be Still runs through May 13, 2012 in the sixth floor Studio Theatre of the Wyly Theatre. This intimate 99-seat space puts you on one side of the living room where most of the action takes place, although clever lighting (Seth Reiser), sound (Ryan Rumery), and quick costume changes (Claudia Stephens) create several different locations within the same stage set (John Arnone).
Be sure to stay late afterward for the free, brief, post-show conversation with a cast member (sponsored by Dr Pepper Snapple Group) where you can interact with the artists and hear dialogue about various interpretations from other audience members.
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