Tiger Tiger Burning Bright was initially presented on Broadway in December 1962 by Oliver Smith and Roger L. Stevens at the Booth Theater. It ran for 33 performances. Almost 50 years have passed since then. Now it is making a return to the stage at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.
The play was written by Peter S. Feibleman and is based on his first novel, A Place Without Twilight, about a pre-World War II black family in New Orleans.Â The novel is narrated by Cille, who struggles for balance and identity in a world where race and class define people for life, and where her two brothers lose themselves beating against the bars of the cage of a divided culture.
Many of the supporting characters in the novel appear in the play as well,Â including Adelaide Smith (my role), Celeste and Dewey Chipley, Mr. Keres and Deacon Sitrre Morris.
Director Sam Nickens wanted to help us make our characters believable and real. Though the characters themselves may be a little over-the-top, they come from a real place; a place that he invited each of the actors to discover and embrace. Everything from the set design to the costumes and the accents emanates from understanding the essence of these characters.
He took great care to work with us to understand the subtle nuances of our characters, the environment they lived in and a number of external factors that help shape their viewpoints, the dialogue and even mannerisms. He says, “My goal was to get the actors to research their own character’s time line. Look back from the year they were born to the time the play was set in and understand how each piece of history affects who they are and what they do. ”
Ultimately, when you look at the overarching theme of the play, survival is at the heart of each character. Whether it is together as a family or on an individual basis, each character seeks to find the best way to survive and create a desired life. We hope this provocative yet heartfelt rendition of a classic will touch the lives and the hearts of audience members.
Tiger Tiger Burning Bright, presented by Upward Bound Productions, opens April 14; plays Thur.- Sat., 8 pm; Sun., 3 pm; through May 22. Tickets: $20. Seniors, students, union members, groups of eight or more: $10. (Use promotional code “BEST”). Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323.960.7740 or plays411.com/tiger.
Barika A. Croom has a natural gift for performing, being the child of gypsy performers who roamed the city of Dallas, Texas. Rather than running off with the circus, which is the customary path for the youngest child, she chose to attend college and graduated summa cum laude from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Since all of the philosophy and religious studies classes were overpopulated there, she decided to major in psychology and theater. After graduation, she stumbled upon a group of voracious performers at Write Act Repertory and promptly joined the team. Barika is an actress, singer, published poet, playwright and theater producer. The last show she produced, James and Joseph, was nominated for a 2009 NAACP Award. She recently produced her first short film, Second Chances, in which she wrote, produced and starred. It will be in theater festivals this year. She has two other films that have been accepted in the Pan African Festival, the ABFF and the Detroit Film Festival. She was most recently seen in McBeezy: The MacBeth Hip-Hopera which was well reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Other credits include Karma the Musical, Ordered Chaos and 3rd Degree Burn (Sketch Comedy). Barika is happy to be playing the part of Adelaide in this historical production of Tiger Tiger Burning Bright and thanks Sam Nickens for the opportunity.