Saturday, June 15, 2019

Tigers Be Still—Lyon Theatre—NW Portland



       “[Lyons] & Tigers & Bears,                            Oh, My”
   
 This moving play is written by Kim Rosenstock and directed by Katie O’Grady and Matt Gibson.  It is playing at the Siren Theater space, 315 NW Davis St., through June 22nd.  For more information, go to their site at www.lyontheatrepdx.com

    In the jungles and forests, there seems to be a certain complex simplicity and savage order to the way things unfold.  Regardless of Man’s view on the Animal Kingdom, there is an odd logic to how Nature governs her charges and it seems to work.  But with the supposed Superior Race of Mankind, any sort of logic seems to be missing and Chaos rules this world.  In the end, which species will dominate…those that live in harmony with Nature…or those that ignore that primal directive and oppose the natural order?!  I think our way of life may be on the way out, folks, unless we change our behavior…and that may be like saying, the tiger will shed his stripes someday…!

    And so, we come, in a very roundabout way, to the human side of things, but not without the ominous presence of our striped friend, always luring in the background, like a cloaked observer, waiting to pounce if we let our guard down.  In this corner, we have Sherry’s (Tiffany Groben) story about a slice of life from her world.  She lives with her mother, who is upstairs and never comes out of her room; her sister, Grace (Jaime Langton), who has traded in her beau for an entity called Jack (Daniels, that is), and a Top Gun named Cruise); and Sherry, herself, who has never had a boyfriend, has just acquired her first job at a school as an art therapist.

    Joining this motley crew in our tale, is the Principal of the school, Joseph (David Mitchum Brown), who has his hands full with worrying about his son, who has anger issue and is becoming more reclusive;  and has a surprising connection to Sherry’s family; also, of course, a Tiger that has escaped from the zoo and may be lurking about.  And last, but certainly not lease, is his son, Zack (Skyler Verity), who is Sherry’s first client, which is appropriate as he does have a dark secret he is harboring.  In the end, all these factions (including the Tiger) will merge to create a new (and better) order for their future paths in life.

Can’t tell you more without revealing information an audience should discover.  
     But, I will say this, Lyon theatre has constantly given us plays that focus on the human condition, not in earth-shattering ways, like so many of their ilk nowadays, but in those small, recesses of the human mind, that reflect the little things in life we all face from day to day and, by conquering those little anomalies, we are more prepared to encounter the larger challenges that the world thrusts toward us.  It’s refreshing, and so my hat is off to them for that!

    O’Grady and Gibson have assembled a wonderful team of actors to share this story with us.  Brown’s character is cautious at first, then slowly reveals the complexities underneath.  Verity is quite a natural actor, underplaying the role, which makes it all the more powerful.  Groben is a perfect choice for the lead, as the everyman(woman) type of character that we can easily identify with.  And Langton is a gem.  She is always totally believable in all the roles she portrays, as well as having produced and choreographed shows with great success.  Grace is a dynamite role and so logically you get a dynamite actor to portray her, which they did!

    I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS


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