A warm and charming, and both layered and humorous play called Tigers Be Still by Kim Rosenstock, produced by One Song Productions for just three performances at The ArtsCenter of Carrboro, opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight (April 19th) and has 2 p.m. Saturday matinee and 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening performances (April 20th).
One Song Productions is an ambitious organization of students from the Carrboro, Durham, and Chapel Hill high schools. They have been delivering excellent dramatic performances since 2002. Obviously, the turnover rate is a bit higher than for most of the companies operating in the area. Only high schoolers may join, and even the board of directors contains no adults as either members or advisors.
A cast of four is directed by Eden Bartholomew and Rachel Broun. The dialogue is brisk, the action authentic, the characterizations real, and the fun is high. We watched the final dress rehearsal, which is often a disaster; and but we found little to carp about. The scene changes need to be speeded up, and the dialogue at the beginning of the show needs to be slowed down. We are confident that these minor shortcomings will improve as the cast and crew work their ways into the play with an audience. The actors obviously know their lines and blocking, and they move and speak naturally.
Co-directors Eden Bartholomew and Rachel Broun have guided the actors into appropriate movements and characterizations, and these actors have taken that guidance and found nuances to demonstrate the pain and suffering underlying the humor. The downside of these lives include guilt, death, and betrayal, which fuel multiple depressions. But, it’s a comedy!
Sherry (played by Sophie Schempp) is the storyteller, with a recent master’s degree in Art Therapy. She has just acquired her first job, and it is loaded with emotional baggage. Schempp makes some lovely transitions bringing her character to life, moving from lack of confidence to assertive strength, caring for her unseen mother and dealing with her unstable sister. She must meet the challenges of a grieving teenager, and that boy’s father, a strong authority figure.
Celeste Kirby is Grace, the Jack Daniels-nursing sister, who can assume poses and awkward slouches like a lame yoga student. Kirby almost brings the black-labeled jug to life with her caressing and care for that bottle. Having been rejected by a fiancé is the baseline Kirby works from and comes close to going over the top with the hilarity that she imbues that deep sadness with.
Zack, Sherry’s totally unwilling young protégé, is played by Grant Lyerly, who is perfect for the role. Holding down a horrible guilt, while assuming a “care less” sullenness, Lyerly grabs our heart.
Gus Clemens portrays Joseph for us. Clemens has both the voice and the heft to play Zack’s dad, who is the principal of the middle school where Sherry teaches. His telephone conversation about unsubscribing from a periodical is masterfully done.
The set represents the not-well-cared-for living room, which has not been “lived in” for quite a while. It includes TV set, and old couch facing it, and office on the very lip of the stage, which is carted on and off as needed. There is a door to the basement and a hallway which leads to the stairs, where unseen Mother isolates in bed. Both are important parts of the story. The technical directors are Jessie Gleason and Annie Joseph and Grant Lyerly provides the props.
We invite you to stand in line, if necessary, to get to see Tigers Be Still, which is a fine example of youthful talent, discipline, and drive. We assure you that you will have a good time.
One Song Productions presents TIGERS BE STILL at 7:30 p.m. April 19 and 7:30 p.m. April 20 in The ArtsCenter of Carrboro’s Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510.
TICKETS: $10 ($7 students).
BOX OFFICE: https://artscenterlive.secure.force.com/ticket/#details_a0S1Q000008gqNfUAI.
SHOW: https://www.1songproductions.org/ (scroll down) and https://www.facebook.com/events/1032063176988882/.
PRESENTER: http://www.1songproductions.org/, https://www.facebook.com/OneSongProductions/, and https://twitter.com/onesongtheatre.
VENUE: http://www.artscenterlive.org/, https://www.facebook.com/artscenterlive, and https://twitter.com/ArtsCenterlive.
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on Amazon.com. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori previously reviewed theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.