September 18, 2019

Winnipeg
23° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Misery loves company in comedic study of depression

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/12/2016 (1019 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One house. Three depressives.

It’s more fun than it sounds.

Indeed, Tigers Be Still, a comedy by American playwright Kim Rosenstock, is a story of triumph for heroine Sherry Wickman (Connie Manfredi) who breaks the fourth wall at the get-go to promise a play “about how I stopped being a total disaster and got my life on track and did not let overwhelming feelings of anxiousness and loneliness and uselessness just, like, totally eat my brain.”

Sherry, aged 24 and never before gainfully employed, is compelled to get up from her childhood bed to take a job as an elementary school art teacher, a position arranged by her mother (unseen throughout the play due to her own medical issues) and her long-ago high school boyfriend Joseph (Brent Buchanan), the school principal. Joseph, it emerges, has another agenda. Sherry, who graduated college with a degree in art therapy, signs on to assisting Joseph’s troubled 18-year-old son Zach (Robert Piche), a guy who can’t keep a job at various drugstore chains due to ongoing anger-management issues.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/12/2016 (1019 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One house. Three depressives.

It’s more fun than it sounds.

Indeed, Tigers Be Still, a comedy by American playwright Kim Rosenstock, is a story of triumph for heroine Sherry Wickman (Connie Manfredi) who breaks the fourth wall at the get-go to promise a play "about how I stopped being a total disaster and got my life on track and did not let overwhelming feelings of anxiousness and loneliness and uselessness just, like, totally eat my brain."

Sherry, aged 24 and never before gainfully employed, is compelled to get up from her childhood bed to take a job as an elementary school art teacher, a position arranged by her mother (unseen throughout the play due to her own medical issues) and her long-ago high school boyfriend Joseph (Brent Buchanan), the school principal. Joseph, it emerges, has another agenda. Sherry, who graduated college with a degree in art therapy, signs on to assisting Joseph’s troubled 18-year-old son Zach (Robert Piche), a guy who can’t keep a job at various drugstore chains due to ongoing anger-management issues.

Her consultations with Zach are somewhat compromised. Zach isn’t aware of the therapy deal. Also Sherry has difficulty creating a professional office space in her home due to the couch-dwelling presence of her often drunk older sister Grace (Laura Olafson), who is residing in the depths of despair (characterized by repeated viewings of the love scene in Top Gun and an attendant addiction to a non-stop playlist of ‘80s audio goop, often composed by Giorgio Moroder). Grace was recently dumped by her fiancé in favour of a podiatrist. Grace’s life is now devoted to long bouts of self-pity broken up by a series of raids on her ex’s house to steal the things to which he is most attached, including a pair of Chihuahuas.

The title comes from an escaped tiger on the loose from the local zoo. It does put in random projected appearances courtesy of designer Tyler Klein, but its primary function is, of course, symbolic.

While Rosenstock’s comedy flirts with farce, its intentions are more serious, addressing the issues of depression and suggesting the most likely help will come from someone who’s been there.

Director Tatiana Carnevale duly keeps to a fine line, keeping things comic and snappily paced over 90 minutes — without intermission — while not losing sight of the devastation depression (and tigers) may wreak. In that regard, Olafson’s performance as Grace stands out with an amusing display of abject misery. (Olafson happens to be an excellent singer, but you’d never know it from the way she drunkenly croaks the theme from The Rose.) Piche, not afraid to get intense, offers a counterpoint performance suggesting how scary things can get. Buchanan, returning to Winnipeg after a 15-year stint on the boards in Toronto, makes for an endearing principal performance.

Holding it all together is Manfredi, who necessarily tamps down a more ebullient default performance setting, but not her stage presence, which is quirkily captivating.

Set designer Tori Popp uses minimal props to achieve a maximum sense of chaos, but a decision to use wooden pallets as a performance platform proved to be troublesome on the opening-night performance.

randall.king@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us