I have always wanted to see a Hyde Park Theater production, so I pulled out all the stops when I got the opportunity to see their production of Kim Roesnstock’s Tigers Be Still. I wore my thin black sixty dollar tie I got from my dad, the double breasted corduroy jacket I stole from my mother, and the teal floral belt I grabbed out of my sister’s dresser (mine is a giving family). I arrived at the theatre with a friend and realized too quickly that I was in Texas and it was still the middle of summer. When Tigers Be Still began I was stubbornly hot and unhappy. When Tigers Be Still ended I could have been wearing six wool coats and you still wouldn’t have been able to wipe the smile off of my face.
Tigers Be Still revolves around Sherry (played by the bright Molly Karrasch) a young woman in her mid-twenties who has just been hired as an art teacher at a local elementary school. While the new job has brought Sherry out of a deep depression, the rest of her family is still hilariously entrenched in their own. The sister (Kelsey Kling, master at cussing) has recently been dumped by her boyfriend and chooses to deal with this devastating blow by drinking straight whiskey and watching Top Gun on repeat. Meanwhile, their mother (whom we never see) refuses to leave her room and communicates to her daughters only through the use of the home phone. In addition to teaching, Sherry has made a deal with the school principal (Jay Fraley) to give art therapy sessions to the principal’s son Zach (played by Jon Cook, fresh from Hyde Park Theatre’s award-winning production of The Aliens). Oh yeah, and there’s a tiger loose in the town.
The play takes a second to get into gear. The beginning isn’t too ground-breaking, but once the play gets its swing it is truly fantastic. Each scene builds up delivers palpable one-liners which will leave you completely in love with the characters on stage. While each of the four cast members were solid, my favorite was definitely Jon Cook. His portrayal of the American teenager was dead-on and his mastery of Roesnstock’s words was just as solid.
Tigers Be Still is directed by the award winning art director of Hyde Park Theatre, Ken Webster, and will be running every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm through August 11th. This play’s 80’s-tastic references and dysfunctional families are well worth the heat of a Texas summer. Don’t miss it.
More information available at the Hyde Park Theater official site.
Photo courtesy of Hyde Park Theatre