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November 26, 2022

Limelight’s ‘accidentally timely’ show opens May 6

Limelight by South Valley Civic Theatre’s upcoming comedy is about a family who is stuck in a rut and rarely gets out of their house.

It’s a timely show that resonates with much of the country, following two years of on-again, off-again pandemic lockdowns.

For the casual observer, it might seem Limelight chose “Tigers Be Still” to run at this point in its season all along, as a reflection on the state of the world.

Turns out, this show has been in the works long before anyone knew what “social distancing” was, or what the “COVID” acronym stood for.

“Tigers Be Still” opens May 6 at the Gilroy Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey St., and runs Fridays-Sundays through May 28.

Around 2019, Limelight founder Kevin Heath selected the show and had already found the cast. But when Heath moved from the area and South Valley Civic Theatre took over operations, the dates for the show changed, and many of the cast were unable to make those new dates because of prior commitments.

With a new cast, “Tigers Be Still” was meant to be Limelight’s first show under South Valley Civic Theatre, with an opening date of March 20, 2020. However, after weeks of rehearsing, and only four days before opening, Limelight was forced to postpone the show as Santa Clara County had issued its first shelter-in-place order to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The third time must be the charm, and barring any unexpected catastrophes, “Tigers Be Still” will finally go live, this reporter confirmed.

“Tigers Be Still” follows Sherry Wickman, who recently earned a master’s degree in art therapy, but is unable to find a job and has to move back home with her family. She must deal with her mother who won’t come downstairs, her lazy sister and many other annoyances, capped off by a tiger that escaped from the local zoo.

“Tigers Be Still” originally opened in New York City in 2010, and was written by Kim Rosenstock, a writer for the Fox sitcom “New Girl.”

Annalisa Tkacheff, who runs Silicon Valley Shakespeare as her day job, plays Sherry, calling the role the biggest she’s ever had in her acting career. With only a cast of four, Tkacheff said she is rarely off stage for the duration of the show, describing it as a “marathon.”

She said she is excited to be back in the theater, two years after first rehearsing for the show, shaking off the rust and “honing the craft.”

“What Sherry and many of the characters are going through is super relatable after the Covid lockdowns,” she said. “We were all depressed at some level. Being able to experience that through an artistic lens has been cathartic.”

Director Andrew Cummings said that’s exactly what he’s been hearing from the cast, who continue to express how healing the rehearsals have been.

“We are all tired of what life has been like,” he said, calling Limelight’s performance “accidentally timely.” “This particular show speaks to that feeling so clearly. That’s been really fun to experience myself and go through with the actors.”

Cummings said the cast and crew are in a unique position, as they are seeing the show and its characters through a much different lens than they had prior to the pandemic.

“They’re trying to break out and turn over a new leaf,” he said. “It resonates differently now that we’ve all kind of done that. It just seems so appropriate for this moment.”

“It’s hard to find a show that is both really meaningful and funny,” Tkacheff said. “This is a happy blend of both, where you can walk away feeling uplifted but also feel like you’ve been touched in some way.”

“Tigers Be Still” opens May 6 at the Gilroy Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey St., and runs Fridays-Sundays through May 28. For tickets, visit svct.org/2022_tigers.

Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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