LEWISTON – It sometimes seems that life throws curves so fast you can’t deal with anything more … not even a loose tiger in the neighborhood.

That’s pretty much how the Wickman women are feeling on one of their particularly bad days in The Public Theatre’s production of the off-Broadway comedy “Tigers Be Still” which opens Jan. 24.

It’s a heart-felt and humorous look at how we help each other through life’s tough moments. Christopher Schario, TPT’s artistic director and director of this play, said “Tigers Be Still” takes the audience through a full range of emotions.

“The audience will be laughing all the way through it, and talking about it all the way home,” Schario said. The cast comprises four professional actors who are appearing on TPT’s stage for the first time. Anna O’Donoghue plays the pivotal role of 24-year-old Sherry Wickman. She has a recent Master’s degree in art therapy … in other words, she’s unemployed and living back home. She has appeared on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” directed by Trevor Nunn, and off-Broadway in the critically-acclaimed production of “Eurydice” at Second Stage.

Rebecca Hart portrays Sherry’s couch-potato sister, Grace. She is recently jilted and her situation keeps her glued to the sofa nursing her broken heart with endless replays of “Top Gun” and a bottle of Scotch. Hart has appeared in the film “Young Adult,” as well as in many theatres in New York and across the country.

Noah Witke, a recent graduate of the acting program at Juilliard, plays the role of Zach. He is an 18-year-old with anger management issues, and he is soon to become Sherry’s first art therapy client.

The fourth of the New York actors making TPT debuts in this show is Joseph Tisa. He plays Noah’s father, and he is doing his best to deal with the loss of his wife and Zach’s mother. Then there is the Wickman sisters’ mom. She is too embarrassed by her recent weight gain to come downstairs, but willing to communicate with the living room via cell phone.

Schario noted that neither of two mothers appear on the stage, but “their absence is a trigger for the place where the other players are.”

As if all this wasn’t enough, there’s also the day’s news about an escaped tiger on the prowl. Schario points this out as a metaphor for life’s menaces often waiting to pounce.

“The great thing about this play,” Schario said, “is the way it finds humor in heartbreak and seamlessly combines comedy and drama.” Schario said “Tigers Be Still” ultimately has a very sweet, and uplifting message about how our friends, our family and our connections to each other get us through the tough moments in life.

“Tigers Be Still” was written by Kim Rosenstock. Following the success of her play in New York, the playwright became a writer on HBO’s hit show, “Girls.”

The imaginative set design for “Tigers Be Still” is by Kit Mayer. Lighting is by Bart Garvey and costume design is by Joan Mather.

“Tigers Be Still” will be performed at The Public Theatre, 31 Maple St., Lewiston, Jan. 24-26 and Jan. 30 through Feb. 2. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. There will be an added Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Feb. 1.

This show contains some adult language. Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for youth (under 18), and there is a group rate (10 or more) of $16. For tickets call The Public Theatre Box Office at 782-3200 or visit www.thepublictheatre.org.

Go and do

What: “Tigers Be Still”

Where: The Public Theatre, 31 Maple St., Lewiston

When: Jan. 24-26 and Jan. 30 through Feb. 2.

Times: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. There will be an added Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Feb. 1.

Ticket:   $20 for adults, $5 for youth (under 18). Group rate (10 or more) of $16. Call the box office at 782-3200 or visit www.thepublictheatre.org.

*This show contains some adult language.

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