Tyger, an original interactive and immersive production, starts at the door: “Do you know Gabby?” All are asked. None do.
You are invited in for dinner but, instead, stay to watch a group of artistic/poetic renegades called “No Ingles” prepare a protest to honor their missing fearless leader—Gabby.
Internal bickering and emotional turmoil interrupt the flow of their work. Not knowing Gabby’s whereabouts and the belief that the government snapped her up because she was a rabble-rouser overwhelm each—a childhood best friend (Annalisa Dias), a sister (Rachel Hynes), a young man to whom she offered hope (DeLesslin George-Warren), and a lecturer (Gregory Ford). And then, the complication that Big Brother not only made her go-away, but made it as if she never existed.
Tyger is an odd duck of a production—that is to say a quirky, avant garde, always stimulating piece that makes neurons fire in novel and unexpected ways. It flows from a series of short scenes that don’t always follow a straight narrative or even align in an easily unpuzzled way.
The performers, at times, are themselves and, at others, their character. Back and forth. In and out.
One moment, a Julia Childs-like cooking show. The next an evil apparition in a black cloak. Then, the Projectionist (Jane Claire Remick) interrupts it all to exit and grab a glass of water, leaving the theatre door open on her way back in.
Despite this broken narrative, no whiplash. Just the sense that all is not as it seems and an urge to question all that seems to be.
Ultimately, Tyger is about grief and, of course, the moving on, the coming from, and sometimes, the going to. Grief is also not a simple storyline that follows a single, conventional path. It starts and stops, demands long pauses, and treks back to the past. The show mirrors this and aspires to profound human sentiments poems have endeavored to capture with just words.
It is also self-aware, humorously acknowledging its somewhat disorienting plot. In one such scene, Gabby’s sister (Hynes) coaxes the audience to behold her tarot card reading skills by recruiting a member to engage in a spread she likes to call “What the fuck is happening?”
The masterful, inventive use of visuals and sound (camera, projector, Google maps, and pop songs, including, you guessed it, Survivor’s immortal “Eye of the Tiger”) often bethink one of an earlier era and also lend levity to balance the heaviness of the running thematic threads—grief, the questioning of truth, Big Brother and, of course, poetry, like that of William Blake’s original “The Tyger.” Where Mr. Blake poeticized that the beastly experiences we all face are indicative of human awareness. Of being, that is.
Each performer—Hynes, Dias, George-Warren, and Ford—is also an interpreter, bringing to life feelings not just through words and dialogue but also motion, mime, and song. This is truly an ensemble piece with Rachel Hynes at the heart of it. She’s dynamic, delivering the deadpan “What the fuck is happening?” sequence and only moments later, as Gabby’s sister, declaring with absolute sincerity and heartbreak, “I think love and hate are all steps to knowing someone.”
April 16 – 25
banished? Productions at
916 G St NW
1 hour, 20 minutes, no intermission
Fridays thru Sundays
Industry night: Monday, April 20
2 for 1 tix with code ‘2for1’ at checkout
She at once loved and hated her sister. Wanted to consume her. Not literally. Just in that way you do when another person fills your world fiercely. Urgently. Constantly.
“No Ingles” says that they “believe that poetry exists and not always in a language we understand.”
But, maybe we do. No matter the language. Human experience is a shared dialect.
Tyger may leave you a wee bit tangled, but not bored (unless you’re are a meat-and-potatoes kind of theatre goer). It’s a stellar realization of the mind as it processes the wonderful, muddled, mess of life. Director Carmen C. Wong and writing deviser and dramaturg Otis Ramsey-Zöe have devised—with many others—a thought-provoking piece that also adjures an array of feelings.
Tyger, a devised piece by Rachel Hynes and Otis Ramsey-Zoe . Directed by Carmen C. Wong . Featuring Rachel Hynes (also Lead Deviser), Annalisa Dias, Gregory Ford, DeLesslin George-Warren (also Audio Deviser) . Otis Ramsey-Zoe (Deviser and Dramaturg); Niell DuVal (Fabricator and Tech Assistant); Kelley Kidd (Costumes, Stage Manager, Lighting Asst., Board Op.) Gordon Nimmo-Smith (Lighting and Tech Consultant); and Jane Claire Remick (Projectionist) . Produced by banished? Productions . Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale.