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Springs Ensemble Theatre's Summer Production

Gazette - 7/13/2018

July 13--Springs Ensemble Theatre is producing "Tigers Be Still," a comedy about depression, written by Kim Rosenstock and directed by Jodi Papproth. The show runs July 19 to Aug. 5, with 7:30 p.m. performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and a 4 p.m. performance Sundays. Tickets are $15.

The play depicts two common American problems, unemployment and depression, as 24-year-old Sherry Wickman completes her master's degree in Art Therapy but can't find a job.

"I like that it's addressing some serious issues with mental illness, anxiety, depression and people going through ways to cope," said director Jodi Papproth, a theater teacher at Cheyenne Mountain High School. "I like the theme of Art Therapy that she uses throughout, but that it has a humorous side. It has a lot of hope and a lot of laughter. It makes you feel like people can make it through these terrible things, and they find ways to cope and family members that are supportive, or they make new family."

Sherry speaks directly to the audience, giving a clear depiction of her perspective.

Papproth has been preparing for this performance for months, casting this production in March and conducting rehearsals four times a week since June. "Tigers Be Still" runs 90 minutes with no intermission.

As the director, she has a theory into the title's meaning.

"Every interview that I've read with Kim Rosenstock, she hasn't said anything specific about it," Papproth said. "But my feeling is that anxiety, like a panic attack, is that your heart is racing and you feel like you're going to die, but once you finally figure out that it's an anxiety disorder, then you start to have panic attacks about the next time you're going to have a panic attack. So you have this sense of doom or dread or something that's coming. So my thought is that this tiger is loose, but no one knows where it is. No one knows the next time it's going to jump out, and it's looming and watching. It's just a guess for me that it has to do with that sense of 'at any moment,' and it puts you on edge."

It's multitude of characters exude different struggles, yet the humor lightens the heaviness of the production without detracting from its depth.

"There's a moment in the play where Zack talks about seeing the tiger, and he has the opportunity to shoot the tiger. But he says, 'I choose life. I choose life for the animal.' In a lot of ways, that tiger has chosen life for you, too, because that tiger could have attacked you or taken you in that moment," Papproth said. "So he's choosing to let it live, but the animal is also choosing to let him live, and they come to this agreement and then the tiger kind of walks away and he escapes. You have these moments of, 'I'm going to live with this, and I'm going to find my way to choose life. Even though I'm going to have these hard moments, I'm going to get through it.'"

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(c)2018 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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