There are no large growling cats in "Tigers Be Still," the upcoming Clackamas Repertory Theatre play that opens Thursday, Sept. 7, but the audience will find plenty of humorous moments and relatable situations, said director Jayne Stevens.
The comedy revolves around Sherry, a young woman who recently has graduated from college with an art therapy degree.
"She is trying to navigate the difficult task of balancing success in the workplace and personal fulfillment in life," Stevens said. Sherry also is "the linchpin of her family, whose members are each struggling with their own depression and life crisis."
"Tigers Be Still" is the final play in the CRT season and will be staged in the Osterman Theatre on campus at Clackamas Community College; it runs from Sept. 7 to Oct. 1.
Stevens, assistant managing director at CRT, noted that she chose to direct "Tigers Be Still" because it's funny and written by a woman.
"It reminded me of challenges I have had in my own life. I think people can relate to the arduous task of landing your first 'real' job after college graduation," she said.
"The play examines family dynamics and how loved ones often become caregivers in times of hardship, something else that I think people will recognize from their own experiences."
Stevens said what she likes best about directing is the "sheer joy" of collaborating with designers and actors during the course of the production.
"Tigers Be Still" will feature local talents Heather Ovalle and Annie Rimmer, familiar from previous productions at CRT. Stevens also has cast Tim Blough and Michael Lissman, two actors she has not worked with before.
What audiences will like best about the play are the comic moments, she said.
"These characters say what you would like to say, but often don't think of until five minutes too late."
Ovalle describes Sherry, her character, as very introverted and insecure.
She "is smart enough to finish a degree in art therapy, but you see her question herself and have to remind/center herself in what she knows is true, in contrast to ... what she has started to believe," Ovalle said.
"She is a very caring and emotional person. She's a fixer," she added.
What she likes best about her character is how genuine and honest she is.
"You see her struggle and fail at points in the show. But she's honest and vulnerable, almost to a fault, but it makes you connect more with her," Ovalle said.
Her favorite moments in the show revolve around any scene that Rimmer is in.
"Annie, who plays my sister, Grace, is absolutely hilarious and so solid. She's gonna steal the show," Ovalle said.
"Tigers Be Still" is "a beautiful play that highlights people's pains and struggles and makes you laugh at it.
"But in the end, the beauty is getting to see each character come out of the struggle and grow from it all, and in a roundabout way, they all help each other."
Rimmer plays the depressed and drunken sister Grace, who recently has been dumped by her fiance.
"She is sad, but in no way a weak character. She is funny and fearless in her bizarre attempts to get her ex to notice her," she said.
"I really like and identify with her grief process. I watch the same movies over and over if I am sad or need motivation. My husband knows exactly what kind of mood I'm in if he comes home and hears one of my repeat movies playing," Rimmer said.
Her favorite scene in the play is where she eats her wedding cake on the couch and her sister comes in and catches her.
"We have some hilarious moments after that and some new things begin to shift for Grace," Rimmer said.
"This is a delightful contemporary play. It is funny, sweet, inspiring and real. The entire cast is amazing, and I highly recommend giving this new play a chance, and spending an evening with us in the theater."
'Tigers,' oh my!
What: Clackamas Repertory Theatre presents "Tigers Be Still," by Kim Rosenstock
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7-Oct. 1
Where: The Osterman Theatre in the Niemeyer Center at Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City
Tickets: Call the box office at 503-594-6047 for tickets or visit clackamasrep.org to book tickets online