Continuing its 25th Anniversary Season, Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman. Tickets are now on sale for the production, running January 30 – March 17, 2013 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. The Press Opening is Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Two US Marines and an Iraqi translator are thrust into a world of greed, mystery and betrayal after an encounter with a now-deceased but still very pissed-off tiger. The streets of war-torn Baghdad are filled with ghosts, riddles and wry humor in Rajiv Joseph's groundbreaking play that explores the power and perils of human nature.
"As an army brat, born while my dad was in Vietnam, as the aunt of a 21-year-old nephew who recently had a tour in Afghanistan, and as the sister of a humanitarian worker who is often a first responder in war torn areas, I've wondered why I haven't gravitated to this subject matter before as an artist. Maybe I was waiting to read Rajiv Joseph's brilliant play, comments Heidi Stillman. "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is raw, edgy, provocative, darkly funny and timely. It's about the war in Iraq; it's about war as an act of human-or animal-nature, the repercussions of war, the displacement of war, and the existence of God."
The cast features Troy West (Tiger), JJ Phillips (Kev), Walter Owen Briggs (Tom), Anish Jethmalani (Musa), Kareem Bandealy (Iraqi Man, Uday), Amy J. Carle (Iraqi Woman, Leper) and Atra Asdou (Hadai, Iraqi Teenager).
Heidi Stillman (Director/Artistic Director of New Work/Ensemble Member) co-created/directed Cascabel with Rick Bayless and Tony Hernandez. Other Lookingglass writing/directing credits include The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, Trust with David Schwimmer, Hephaestus with Tony Hernandez at the Goodman, The Brothers Karamazov, Hard Times (5 Jeff Awards, also traveled to the Arden in Philadelphia), and The Master and Margarita (with David Catlin). Directing credits at Lookingglass include The Wooden Breeks (by Glen Berger), and Hillbilly Antigone (book, music and lyrics by Rick Sims). She also recently staged Laura Eason's Around the World in 80 Days at Kansas City Rep and Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep. Other Lookingglass adaptation credits include The Old Curiosity Shop co-written with Ray Fox and Laura Eason (Jeff Award), and The Baron in the Trees with Larry DiStasi. She was last seen on stage in The Arabian Nights. Heidi was awarded the 2010 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment for The Brothers Karamazov.
Atra Asdou (Hadia, Iraqi Teenager) is making her Lookingglass Theatre debut. Former Chicago theatre credits include Writers' Theatre, The Goodman, Silk Road Rising, Victory Gardens, American Theatre Company, and most recently, The Gift. Film credits include Johnson, Night Lights, and Follow the Leader. Atra is represented by Gray Talent Group Chicago.
Kareem Bandealy (Uday) appeared previously at Lookingglass in Peter Pan and The Last Act of Lilka Kadison. Chicago credits include Rock 'N' Roll, Gas For Less, King Lear (Goodman Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edward II, Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Illusion (Court Theatre), Hamlet, The Caretaker, Heartbreak House (Writers' Theatre), The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo), It's a Wonderful Life, Oklahoma! (American Theater Company, ensemble member), Our Enemies, Back of the Throat,10 Acrobats (Silk Road Rising, associate artist), and Wedding Play (About Face). Regional credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Three Musketeers, The Tempest (Illinois Shakespeare), Love's Labour's Lost (Notre Dame Shakespeare), Stuff Happens, Julius Caesar (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical), and four seasons at Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Film credits include The Merry Gentleman (Michael Keaton, director). In 2011, he received a 3Arts Artist Award. He will be seen next in Blood and Gifts at TimeLine.