Mad March Hare in association with Red Line Productions present the Sydney premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s groundbreaking theatrical drama, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo at the Old Fitz Theatre for a limited season from 12 April 2017.
The lives of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad. As the tiger seeks the meaning of life through witnessing the puzzling absurdities of war, the Americans and Iraqis search for friendship, redemption, and a toilet seat made of gold.
Debuting in California with a Broadway production that followed in early 2011, the Tiger was famously played by Robin Williams in his final Broadway performance. In this new production directed by Claudia Barrie (Belleville, Shivered), the role of the Tiger will be played by industry veteran, Maggie Dence (The Mavis Bramston Show, The Turquoise Elephant, The Sullivans).
Maggie was the 2011 recipient of the Equity Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding services to the performing arts – both stage and screen – and her long involvement with the NSW Actors’ Benevolent Fund. The award, presented by Foxtel, was from Maggie’s peers and members of MEAA which Maggie has been a proud member of since 1962.
“So often characters in war stories are written as victims or terrorists,” said Barrie. “This play is a breath of fresh air, nuanced and complex. The characters are so rich, not just symbols for something. They are unique and powerful in their own right. There is no good or bad, right or wrong. Every element of humanity is examined in this play, and believe it or not, the play is actually very funny. I think that helps reach out and grab each audience member so strongly”.
“Adding to the complexities of this play is the role of women and how they are treated and seen across both Western and Eastern cultures,” said Barrie. “I was fascinated with what shift would happen if our Tiger was a grand matriarch type figure, a regal and wonderful woman who had been displaced, caged and neglected. To me this is representative of the confines and abuse women have suffered and continue to suffer across the globe.”
The diverse cast also includes Josh Anderson (Belleville, Shivered), Tyler De Nawi (Here Come the Habibs, The Principal), Andrew Lindqvist (Howl, The Canterbury Tales), Stephen Multari (Remembering Pirates, The House of Ramon Iglesia), recent WAAPA graduate Megan Smart (Breath) and Aanisa Vylet (Deadly Women, Martyrs).
Rajiv Joseph is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an award winning playwright. He received his BA in Creative Writing from Miami University and his MFA in Playwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.
Rajiv works include: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Huck and Holden, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Monster at the Door, The North Pool, The Lake Effect, and Guards at the Taj. He has taught Essay Writing at New York University, wrote for Seasons 3 and 4 of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, and was book-writer and co-lyricist for the musical, Fly, adapted from JM Barrie’s novel, Peter Pan.
“A majestic, richly conceived play with fanciful humour and clear-eyed compassion… A savagely funny and visionary work.” – The New York Times
Director: Claudia Barrie Featuring: Josh Anderson, Tyler De Nawi, Maggie Dence, Andrew Lindqvist, Stephen Multari, Megan Smart, Aanisa Vylet Lighting Design: Ben Brockman Set Design: Isabel Hudson Sound Design: Nate Edmondson Costume Design: Stephanie Howe Stage Management: Brooke Kiss
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo
Season: 15 April – 6 May 2017 (previews: 12 – 14 April)
Information and Bookings: www.redlineproductions.com.au
Image: Maggie Dence in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo – photo by John Marmaras