SOUTH PORTLAND — Mad Horse Theatre Company presents the Maine premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” This remarkably haunting play throws two American soldiers, a tormented Iraqi translator, a brooding tiger and a host of spirits together in war-torn Iraq and dares you not to look away as they try to find meaning, forgiveness and redemption among the city’s ruins.

The dead have as much voice as the living in this complicated, surreal and highly theatrical play, which was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist. The New York Times called this play “a boldly imagined, harrowing, and surprisingly funny drama that is wonderfully daring.”

Mad Horse Theatre Company’s production of “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” is directed by Company member Nathan Speckman who directed last year’s critically acclaimed production of Austin Pendleton’s “Uncle Bob.”

“I immediately fell in love with the play when I first read it,” said Speckman. “It is incredibly well written, and I think the message it conveys is tragically beautiful. My hope is that the audience will understand and agree once the dust of the play has settled.”

Mad Horse Company member Tootie Van Reenan stars as the Tiger, a role made famous on Broadway by Robin Williams. Company member Brent Askari is joined by guest artists Mark Rubin, Jake Cote, Evan Dalzell, Reba Short and Allison McCall. The play will be performed in the round, giving the audience a truly intimate theatrical experience.

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” runs Jan. 17 through Feb. 3 in Mad Horse’s new theatre at the Hutchins School, 24 Mosher Street, South Portland.

Show times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. There will be a Talk Back with the director and the actors immediately following the matinee performance on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors and students. Mad Horse also offers Pay What You Can performances each Thursday during the run. Reservations are recommended. Order tickets online at or call 207-730-2389.