I love seeing shows at SF Playhouse because the acting is always top notch and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. When I heard there was a new play there that had just started called The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo, I didn’t know what to expect but I was very curious and I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. And I was right!
The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo is pretty dark, after all it takes place in Bagdad not long after the US troops killed Sadam Hussein’s sons, but it was also funny and even very touching at times. The tiger, played by one of the Bay Area’s very best, Will Marcetti, is as great as ever as the disgruntled and displaced Bengal Tiger. The story starts at the Bagdad Zoo with the tiger, being underfed and irritated about it, bites of the hand of an American soldier standing guard at the zoo. The soldier’s comrade then shoots and kills the tiger. The tiger then comes back to life as a ghost and haunts the soldier that shot him.
While rehabilitating, the man who lost the hand gets a visit at the hospital from his friend that shot the tiger. His friend tells him that he thinks he is going crazy because the tiger is haunting him, sitting in the hospital room at that very moment. His friend doesn’t offer much advice and gets shipped back to the states to finish his recovery. Once recovered, he goes back to Bagdad and finds his friend – in the psych ward, who is holding a very precious keepsake of his, the gun that shot the tiger – a golden gun that belonged to one of Sadam’s sons. When his friend tells him he is going crazy and has lost the gun, he turns his back on his friend and the crazy one then commits suicide and comes back and haunts his friend.
The other part to the story is the translator for the soldiers, who used to be the gardener for one of Sadam’s sons, is also being haunted, by Sadam’s son and by his younger sister who was killed and he believes it was his fault.
The Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo was very entertaining, thought provoking, and emotional. It made me think about what my life would be like if I lived in Bagdad and made me appreciate the fact that I don’t. This is an all around great show that should not be missed.
By your tickets after the link, or swing by TIX Bay Area in Union Square!