The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

‘Tigers Be Still:’ Talent that can’t be tamed

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Photo courtesy of Karen Almond
Aleisha Force, Christopher Sykes and Abbey Siegworth portray a cast of characters with complicated personal struggles with depression in “Tigers Be Still.”

Aleisha Force, Christopher Sykes and Abbey Siegworth portray a cast of characters with complicated personal struggles with depression in “Tigers Be Still.” (Photo courtesy of Karen Almond)

What do popsicle stick houses, the movie Top Gun, and a dog named “Anus” have in common? Tigers Be Still, that’s what.

Tigers Be Still, a “comedy about depression” by Kim Rosenstock, deals with the darkly comedic lives of Grace (Aleisha Force), Sherry (Abbey Siegworth), Joseph (Chamblee Ferguson), and Zack (Christopher Sykes) after a tiger escapes from the local zoo.

As each character revels in their personal stage of depression, they must rely on one another to lift themselves out of their problems had its initial premier with the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York in 2010, to positive reception, after which it was revised and is currently playing at the Wyly Theater under the direction of Hal Brooks.

What really brings out Rosenstock’s terrifically witty writing is the incredible cast. Current MFA student Aleisha Force literally has the audience doubled over in laughter in her embodiment of Grace, Sherry’s older sister, who so distraught over her breakup with her boyfriend, Troy, that she has not only not moved from the couch in weeks, but has taken to stealing Troy’s possessions and stashing them around the house.

Her delivery is consistently nothing short of spot-on, and her performance is sure to be a favorite of 2012.

Brierly Resident Acting Company members Abbey Siegworth (SMU MFA Alum) and Chamblee Ferguson put forth equally strong performances as the younger sister struggling as an art therapist and the rifle-toting school principle, respectively.

Siegworth has a subtle, anxious tension about her that lends a tone of neuroticism to Sherry. Siegworth’s Sherry is likeable and charming, especially when paired with her onstage sister, Grace (Force). Ferguson relishes in Joseph’s shoes, taking Joseph’s bizarre quirks just far enough as to be as to be as comical as possible without sacrificing realism or breaking the illusion of the play. Christopher Sykes settles quite nicely into the role of Zack, Joseph’s son and Sherry’s patent/love interest. Sykes is comfortable and natural onstage, and his final monologue is a perfect ending to the show.

While the characters’ intentions were clear, it was not always clear what each character was working towards, a firm plot, in the play to keep the audience immersed.

This is rarely a problem as the interaction between characters is so entertaining, but the lack of any real major conflict or plot other than the loose tiger slows down the pacing of the show at times.

Small issues aside, Tigers is a genuinely charming new piece of theater that draws you in with it’s rich, dark comedy and wild characters and leaves you with a charming, thoughtful look at the human experience of depression.

Tigers Be Still runs March 2 through May 13.  

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