Usually, we see plays to temporarily escape from our own lives. As the lights dim, and darkness surrounds us, we can devote our full attention to the actors on stage, placing our phones, homework, or any other responsibilities out of reach. Hoping to live through the actors on stage, we yearn to laugh or cry, to feel something in order to be extracted from the routine of daily life.
Tigers Be Still, a play put on by the Boston College Dramatics Society, is more than just entertainment: it is an experience. The small cast of four maintains a charming and intimate relationship with the audience, consistently threading jokes throughout the script and genuinely engaging the audience. Tiger’s Be Still truly does more.
The cast, consisting of Julia James, A&S '17, David Makransky, A&S'17, Matt Appleby A&S'15 and Meghan Linehan A&S'17, create a sense of sympathy from the audience, passionately expressing the pains of the characters, as well as their triumphs. Above all, the four make each person in the audience feel that they are not alone.
“It is a powerful little play that finds a way to personally reach out and relate to every person it meets,” says Director Lili Chasen, LSOE '15. “This production is meant to celebrate the highs and lows that are an inevitable by-product of being alive.”
The story follows Sherry, characterizing a typical 27-year-old with a master’s degree in art therapy: unemployed and spiraling into a dark void of depression. Following her mother’s suite, Sherry refuses to get out of bed for months, consumed by her own loneliness and apathy.
Although her sister argues Sherry is “more mellow” since she fell into the void and is “a great listener,” Sherry is “paralyzed by depression."
She is lifted out of these depths when Sherry’s mother gets her a job. (Yes, really! A JOB!) Beginning work at the elementary school, it seems like her life is finally starting to get back on track…
That is until her mother refuses to get out of bed, her sister finds comfort in Top Gun and Jack Daniel’s after a tough break-up, and her first client was tricked into their therapy
sessions. Oh, and a tiger escaped the local zoo and is in dangerous proximity to the school.
But the tiger is not the only thing lurking in Sherry’s life.
Tigers Be Still subtly addresses the serious issues of mental health and its prowling nature. Although at times light-hearted and amusing, the play stays grounded to pertinent problems, both in the lives of the characters and in the audience.
Within a scene, for instance, Zach quickly oscillates from the triumphant man that defeated his boss and “an economy-size bag of skittles” in a fight, into a man that believes being seen as an “angry guy is better than being seen as the guy that drove his mom into a tree.”
Tigers Be Still dares to address questions that are not often spoken aloud, but that constantly appear in our own lives: how do we help others whose mental health is threatened? Do we take the position that “she needs to do it on her own choice” or believe “she needs someone to go up and rescue her from herself”?
The play also demonstrates the relationship with ourselves and how to avoid losing your personality in a world where it has become difficult to stay grounded. It emphasizes the importance of finding balance in your life, something we should all account for when staying mentally healthy.
Tigers Be Still shows that sometimes, all you need to find yourself -- to get out of bed or to escape the darkness -- is a friend. The talented and charming cast reminds us all to be mindful of our own mental health as well as those around us and to keep in touch with our true selves. If nothing else, Tigers Be Still inspires us to be more.