Tiger Tiger Burning Bright intrigues
Is it right to deceive someone to protect them from the truth?
This question is explored in Peter S. Feiblemanâ€™s play, Tiger Tiger Burning Bright.
Produced by Upward Bound Productions and directed by Sam Nickens, the play tells the story of the Morrises, a troubled black family living in 1950s Louisiana.
The Morrises are caught in a mesh of secrets and lies, and as the deceptive web begins to unravel, the audience begins to learn who the members of this family really are.
Tiger Tiger Burning Bright is an investigation into dreams, and what happens when dreams become delusions.
Encapsulating and engaging, the performance flew by, despite the slow beginning.
The New Orleans heat and rain, the atmosphere of the neighborhood, and the tension and humor of the Morris family all combine to create a vivid atmosphere.
The story centers around Mama (Regina Randolph), her two sons, Clarence (Damien Burke) and Dan (Richard John Reliford), and her daughter Cille (DaShawn Barnes), who all live together in the same New Orleans house.
Mama is the emotional anchor of the family. Clarence is cheeky and rebellious, with an air of secrecy about him.
Clarenceâ€™s little brother, Dan, is in love with a girl who would never notice him, but swoons over Clarence.
During the course of the play, Clarence is overly secretive about his whereabouts and income sources, and soon Cille and Mama begin to question him.
Conflicts come to a boiling point as secrets threaten to destroy the Morris family.
Conflicts appear authentic as the acting as a whole was convincing and managed to avoid being overly dramatic.
The confrontational scenes between Mama and Clarence were particularly engaging and riveting, and a romance between Cille and neighbor Dewey (Collin St. Dic) was helplessly charming.
A few characters seemed to lose themselves in longer monologues, but Barnes was excellent in her solo parts.
The simple yet undeniably Southern clothing help to set the tone of this performance.
The men wore conservative button-down collar shirts and slacks, while the women displayed an array of floral dresses.
Similarly, the set design was simple, but effective.
A kitchen occupied most of the stage space, with a small outside space and two doors into inner parts of the house allowing for lots of movement and surprising depth in an unchanging set.
The only potential miscue is a strange performance by Reliford.
Although the character is supposed to be silly, Reliford seems almost too goofy for this play.
Danâ€™s character seemed a bit off for what should have been very dramatic scenes.
On the whole, Tiger was a captivating performance, propelled by strong writing and an excellent cast.
The play is showing at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, a surprisingly intimate theatre nestled among the buzz of Hollywood Boulevard and will run through May 22.