SF Playhouse has just opened a deliciously staged production of the off-Broadway hit Tigers Be Still by Kim Rosenstock. The ninety-minute comedy documents the frustrations of a newly minted Art Therapist. Practicing her chosen profession from her home office does not provide the rewards she was expecting. The other three characters plague Sherry in her apartment.
Sherry Wickman (Melissa Quine) has earned her master’s degree in art therapy and expects her career and life to fall into place perfectly and immediately. However, OCD Sherry in her home office has to argue with her self-indulgent sister over the use of the couch. Sherry’s well-directed interactions with sister Grace (Rebecca Schweitzer) establish the sibling dynamic. Then playwright Rosenstock introduces further complications. Their mother upstairs won’t get out of bed. The boss has intentions (Remi Sandri). Sherry has sexual yearnings and a desire for “only reasonably attractive children.” And now she faces her first client in her home, Zack (Jeremy Kahn) a dim, slow patient who readily misunderstands anything. The she hears that a tiger has “escaped from the local zoo.”
The way Quine makes Sherry effusive over her first student when the doorbell rings is exciting. She projects eager anticipation. Schweitzer as Grace seems to wallow in the laziness of her character. Sandri as Joseph seems right in his self-effacing character with an agenda. Kahn as student Zack marvelously projects the attention span of a slacker. They all interact with a high degree of verisimilitude under the guidance of esteemed Bay Area director Amy Glazer on an intricate, compact set by SF Playhouse Artistic Director Bill English.
This quirky and dark comedy was featured in SF Playhouse’s 2008 reading series, and then went on to a critically acclaimed 2010 New York premiere. “This is the story of how my mother got out of bed,” Sherry declares.
Tigers Be Still has been extended through September 10 at The SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter Street (between Powell & Mason Streets), San Francisco. Tickets ($30 to $50) are available online at http://www.sfplayhouse.org or by phone at