Sherry Wickman (Heather Ovalle) just got her first real job out of college, and is coming out of a depression that lasted several months. Grace (Annie Rimmer), Sherry’s sister, has been dumped by her fiancé Troy. We learn much later in the play what’s ailing Joseph (Tim Blough) and his son Zack (Michael Lissman). Meanwhile, a tiger has escaped from the local zoo, putting everyone in a heightened state of worry.
These four characters in Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s final production of their season, Kim Rosenstock’s dark comedy, Tigers Be Still, suffer, or have suffered, from situational depression. It’s horrible. It can last for months. But one usually gets over it—about the time the situation changes for the better, such as in Sherry’s case.
Mom, who has been locked in her upstairs bedroom for several months, we’re not so sure about. Since no one has seen her, we only know she’s alive because she telephones her daughters.
With all the sadness taking up space in the Wickman living room, Tigers Be Still is packed with laughs. Depression is no laughing matter, but it can be pretty funny when we’re watching someone else go through it. The recently jilted Grace takes her suffering to dizzying heights, stalking said living room in her oversized mouse slippers, sucking down Jack Daniels through a straw. Joseph, the school principal who hired Sherry, bears his sadness with stoic dignity, while 18-year-old Zack displays “little anger management problems” that make themselves known in various forms throughout the play. As the four characters strive toward creative and compassionate resolution of their individual issues, one begins to see the tigers for what they really are.
Jayne Stevens, Clackamas Rep’s assistant managing director, brings out the best of this play and its players as director of the production. It runs Thursdays through Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. in the Osterman Theatre at Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City 97045.