Rajiv Joseph's Play About Soldiers in Iraq and a Bengal Tiger Gets NYC Test

News   Rajiv Joseph's Play About Soldiers in Iraq and a Bengal Tiger Gets NYC Test A darkly comic drama about American soldiers in the Middle East will be tested in New York City starting April 13.

The Lark Play Development Center will continue its partnership with Queens Theatre in the Park by presenting a "BareBones" production of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph.

The simply staged, off-book rehearsed performances will play the Lark in Manhattan April 13-14, April 16 and April 21 at 8 PM, and then move to Queens Theatre in the Park in Flushing Meadows Park April 26-29.

"Acutely relevant amidst our current political climate, Joseph's darkly, comedic drama takes the audience straight into the Middle East where the lives of two American soldiers, an Iraqi translator and a tiger intersect on the streets of Baghdad; consequently changing each other's lives forever," according to production notes.

Joseph (All This Intimacy, Huck & Holden) was inspired by a small Associated Press news article "about a bizarre interaction at the Baghdad Zoo to germinate this play of political and personal displacement."

"The sadness and absurdity of that event," stated Joseph, "led me to a different way of thinking about the war in Iraq. There's a point where the media and government's articulation of the war stops being particularly helpful." Lark's producing director John Eisner said in a statement, "By placing America's current dilemma in Iraq into a wider context of history and the ghosts of innocent victims, Joseph calls upon us to recognize the enormous challenge we face in creating a world that prizes humanity above nationhood."

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Tickets are $15 and may be purchased through www.larktheatre.org, (866) 811-4111 or through www.queenstheatre.org for their performances.

Rajiv Joseph received his MFA in Playwriting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and also holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University.

Working with Joseph is director Giovanna Sardelli, who has been part of Bengal Tiger's development since Joseph was a 2005-06 Playwrights' Workshop Fellow at the Lark.

The cast includes Hend Ayoub, Joseph Kamal, Ryan King, Tom Ligon, LeRoy McClain, Sharone Sayegh and Alok Tewari.

Bengal Tiger has also been developed through residencies set up by the Lark at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, Centro Helenico Drama Week in Mexico City, and SUNY Purchase College.

Visit www.larktheatre.org for more information.

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BareBones" are simply staged, fully rehearsed public presentations of plays in the final stages of development. A BareBones is the culmination of a comprehensive development strategy and 100 hours of rehearsal in advance of the public presentations.

The Lark Play Development Center "provides American and international playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work," according to the not-for-profit. "The Lark nurtures artists at all stages in their careers, inviting them to freely express themselves in a supportive and rigorous environment. It is a home for an emerging artistic community committed to reshaping how we see and experience the world."

Leading the organization are producing director John Clinton Eisner, managing director Michael Robertson and artistic program director Daniella Topol.