*No family is exempt from drama. It’s a universal occurrence.
Take the Morris family, circa 1950s, New Orleans. They got problems – real problems.
It all plays out in the drama, “Tiger Tiger Burning Bright,” written by Peter S. Feibleman and directed by Sam Nickens.
The show is currently playing through May 22, at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.
The play explores what it means for a man and a family to live with the truth rather than what seems comfortable.
The conflict occurs when the dreams of some family members fail to be realized. The family consists of Mama (Regina Randolph), Clarence (Damien Burke), Dan (Richard John Reliford) and Cille (DaShawn Barnes).
They all live together in a no frills home. For unknown reasons, Mama has kept outside visitors at a distance, forbidding them to come past the home’s threshold. Mama is in mourning for her son, George, reported to have been killed during his military duty.
The home has become somewhat of a mystery to neighbors who are convinced something strange is going on inside.
Well, all of that changes after Mama decides to throw a party for her eldest son, Clarence, who supposedly works for the telegraph company – or does he?
The main antagonist in this story is Clarence who sneaks around climbing in and out of the windows trying his best to go undetected. But, just what is he hiding. He keeps money, but does it all come from his job?
His sister, Cille, who has a gift for seeing right to the heart of the matter – knows her brother is hiding something sinister, and after intense questioning, finally figures it out.
But Clarence is not the only one with secrets. So, too, does Mama, the old-fashioned matriarch of the family.
The cast of characters also includes Clarence’s younger brother Dan, who wants to marry Adelaide, a local hot mama who wants to settle down with Clarence. Then there are the neighbors, Dewey (Collin St. Dic), who has eyes for Cille and busybody/take-no-stuff Celeste (Janai Dionne). There is also an unethical Deacon Sittre Morris (Carl Crudup).
The show introduces some interesting and intense familial and social scenarios. Unfortunately, the cast doesn’t demonstrate the breadth and depth of the subject matter, leaving ‘Tiger Tiger Burning Bright’ a little dim.
Damien Burke, who should be ‘burning bright’ in the role of Clarence, instead seems to be sleepwalking his way through the play – never changing his monotoned, ineffectual delivery.
There is no chemistry between any of the family members, who could just as easily be strangers all inhabiting the same dwelling.
Kudos to Collin St. Dic, DeShawn Barnes and Janai Dionne who try to breathe life into their characters.
The set is a bit awkward with the entrance to the house mounted at an uncomfortable angle. Chris Covics’ lights don’t set the mood or a tone for the production. And, if it were not for the description in the program, one would never know the show was set in New Orleans.
“Tiger Tiger Burning Bright,” is written by Feibleman, directed by Nickens and stars Randolph, Burke, Richard Reliford, Barnes, Barkia A. Croom, Carl Crudup, James E. Hurd, Jr., Dionne, St. Dic and Gilbert Hancock.
Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 8 p.m. Thur-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun. through May 22; $10-$20; 323 960-7740 or www.Plays411.com/tiger.