#97. Depression hits everyone differently. Some just wallow in it. They take to their bed. They take to their pills. They take to their baked goods section at the local Jewel. Me? I like to share it. I vent it out to my friends until all the bad energy is gone. It might be over a bottle of wine or a case depending on the situation.
Theater Wit presents the Midwest premiere of TIGERS BE STILL. Sherry lives with depression. She has her master’s degree in art therapy but no job and no boyfriend ...ever. In addition, her recently fat mother refuses to leave the bedroom. Her recently dumped sister refuses to leave the couch. And her father just recently left. When Sherry gets a job at the local school, she’s assigned her first client. And he happens to be the principal’s son. To make matters worse, somewhere out there is a tiger on the loose. Sherry is surrounded by pressure. She just wants to go back to bed but everybody is counting on her. TIGERS BE STILL is a woman’s comedic look at life in captivity.
Playwright Kim Rosenstock penned a witty script. Her characters are flawed and familiar parodies. I see my twenties among the train wreckage. Under the direction of Jeremy Wechsler, the talented cast is absurdly funny. In the lead, Mary Winn Heider (Sherry) is this forced upbeat cheerleader type as she hides being a frazzled mess. The lovable Heider is delightful spinning everything in a positive light. Her sister, Kasey Foster (Grace), is the perfect composite of the worst break-up behavior I’ve observed/participated in. Her drunken, illegal, slutty, destructive shenanigans are spoof-tastic. Foster just cracks me up! And when she sings “The Rose”, it’s a gigglefest. A deadpan Matt Farabee (Zack) zings his line with unexpected clarity. Farabee, giving off a fairly weirdo vibe, is hilarious delivering insight *to* his therapist. His dad, Guy Massey endears with a bumbling charm. In one particular scene, Massey reacts to an inside joke with an adorable delayed response.
Wechsler has picked an ideal cast for this frolicking show. The foursome have stellar comedic timing. And there are plenty of laughs. The speed bump I had was the scene transitions. Wechsler stages it stretched across the center of the room with audience on the east and west sides. To the south is Sherry’s house. To the north is a big space. In front of me is more space. Whenever the action left Sherry’s house, there was a black-out delay as furniture was carted in to the empty space. It got clunky. It felt like a tennis match without the speed. It seemed like the space could have been more functional with stationary sets lit for focus.
All and all, I really enjoyed TIGERS BE STILL. Whether you are depressed or not, it’s a perfect, carefree outing for some solid laughs.
A 24-year old woman with her act together, Amy describes it with 'nervous, clever, dramatic.'
Running Time: One hundred minutes with no intermission.
At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont
Written by Kim Rosenstock
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
EXTENDED Thru June 16th
Buy Tickets at www.theaterwit.org