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Land of the Tigers

COMEDY

Land of the Tigers
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From the revered Los Angeles comedy outfit The Burglars of Hamm comes a comedy as stupid as it sounds. The first act of Land of the Tigers takes place in a world much like our own— except with tigers who worship a volcano goddess, fight brutal wars with swans, and fret over global cooling. The second act takes the audience back to the first day of rehearsal for the abomination they’ve just witnessed, in this satire of the inherent folly and nobility of creating a work of art.


SYNOPSIS


The Prologue of Land of the Tigers is a rousing speech delivered by Chairman Longstripe, who has a tiger’s face and wears a powdered wig and colonial attire. The Chairman recalls the miraculous day not long ago when tigers were suddenly able to walk on their hind legs and speak English. He urges the tigers, who have formed a government, to make the most of this unexpected opportunity. The tigers cheer.

Two sentries, Panthar and Bumbletip, patrol a battlement, keeping watch for the sworn enemies of all tigers: swans. Sabertooth, our hero, enters and tries to persuade them to abandon their post. It is soon revealed that he is trying to provide privacy for Sheba, a female tiger, to go through heat without having to attend the mandatory “mating ritual,” the only legal way for tigers to copulate. His friends reluctantly agree to leave.

The Tigressional Congress is meeting, and the tigers are “in the weeds” over whether or not to replace a bench. A scientist tiger, Clawman Furworthy, (who also happens to be Sheba’s father) attempts to present his urgent findings on Global Cooling, but he is shouted down.

The next scene takes place immediately following the mating ritual, a choreographed affair. Fang Stalkington, Sheba’s brother, publicly goads Sabertooth for not mating.

Later that night, Fang confronts Sheba about her missing the mating ritual, where they were scheduled to copulate. He tries various ways to convince her they should be together again and, when he fails, asks her not to be with Sabertooth. Her face gives away that she is already in love with Sabertooth, giving Fang yet another reason to hate him.

Another session of the Tigressional Congress focuses on a relatively petty problem of a permit to expand a fishing pond.

Following the session, Sabertooth goes looking for Sheba, but she is not at home. He speaks with her father, Clawman Furworthy, who reveals that he was not at that day’s meeting because the Congress is upset with him. He is trying to warn others that their practice of throwing objects and tigers in the volcano is causing the planet to veer from its orbit, and to cool. Sabertooth is offended by this theory, but agrees to give it consideration out of respect for the professor as Sheba’s father.

An emergency session of the Tigressional Congress has been called for Professor Furworthy to present his data. It is interrupted by the surprise appearance of Old Kava, who brings up a question of parliamentary order. Sabertooth attempts to stand up for the professor’s right to speak and receives a karate chop from Old Kava. The professor’s presentation is forgotten as the tigers again fuss over trivialities.

Sabertooth has come to the waterfall to clear his head and finds Sheba there. They can’t deny their attraction any longer and proceed to make forbidden love.

Bumbletip is strumming his lute when Professor Furworthy runs on in a panic. He explains that Sabertooth was in Furworthy’s lab, dancing to jazz when he knocked a potion that made one of his arms grow to a gigantic size.

Sheba visits Sabertooth in the hospital, where indeed his arm is giant, and allows him to turn on the radio from across the room. 

At the next Tigressional Congress, the tigers officially pass a motion not to hear the Professor’s presentation and proceed to celebrate their new newsletter. 

Fang orders the arrest of Sabertooth and Sheba for defying the laws of the tiger society.

The next scene takes place at the edge of the volcano. The tigers throw Sheba into the volcano to appease the goddess and eliminate a bad influence on Sabertooth. Sabertooth jumps in after her. At that moment the earth begins to shake and turn cold. Professor Furworthy admonishes the frightened tigers for not heeding his warning about global cooling. Everyone dies. Sabertooth and Sheba emerge from the volcano. All of their fur has been burned off, and they now appear to be humans. It is up to them to start a new society, and with that, Sabertooth asks to be called by a new name— Adam. 

Curtain call. The actor who played Sabertooth silences the crowd after the initial bow and explains that the play we have just seen is a metaphor, and that the tigers represented humans. Lights snap to a new look and the actors all freeze. A young man pops up from behind the volcano, dressed in contemporary clothing. He walks among the actors, viewing them and the audience with apparent wonder and satisfaction. Then he turns to the audience and holds up a sign saying “Intermission.”

Act II opens with a rousing speech by Brian, the young man we just saw for the first time in Act I’s curtain call. He pontificates a bit about theatre, and as others respond favorably, lights expand to reveal a rehearsal studio and four other actors, three of whom (Susan, Tracy, and Tim) are close to Brian’s age, and one of whom, Margaret, is older. Brian has received funding from an anonymous donor to lead the creation of an entirely new play with his “dream team.” His plans are almost immediately derailed when Tracy suggests they hire a director she knows. 

The company meets Michael Livingston, Tracy’s director contact, for the first time. After they patiently watch him eat a large sandwich, he rejects all of Brian’s process suggestions, insisting that the play could be about literally anything. He asks Tim what his favorite animal is, and Tim answers, “Tigers.” Michael then compares his purchase of the sandwich to a tiger’s hunt and lays down some ground rules for the rehearsal process— the company is to abstain from any sexual gratification during the rehearsal process, and to consume large quantities of meat.

Immediately following the last scene, Brian and Susan are shutting down the rehearsal space, and Brian expresses skepticism about what he sees as over-reach in ordering the company to alter their diet and personal lives. He characterizes this level of control as “cult-like.” He also makes a clumsy attempt to make a date with Susan. Michael re-enters the scene and makes it clear that he overheard Brian’s criticism.

Michael leads the cast through an exercise centering around the phrase, “I know who I am,” wherein they are asked to reveal personal things about themselves. The actors quickly glean that the best way to succeed at the exercise is to cry, and Susan excels, bursting into tears after revealing an abortion. Everyone succeeds to some extent, except Brian. After rehearsal, Michael asks Susan to stay and drafts her to pet-sit for his dog while he goes out of town, implying that they will spend private time together when he returns.

Michael leads the actors through an exercise, using a newspaper article about a tiger attack as text. He zeroes in on Brian not being “free.”

Immediately following that rehearsal, Brian gauges support for the current process with the other actors, hoping to expel Michael. When he finds they are generally on board with Michael, he too insists that he is “good.”

The actors are going through an improvised scene. Susan is clearly the star and the others are relegated to scrubbing the floor and being humiliatingly humped by her. Michael admonishes Margaret for not participating on the floor, and she reminds him that she has arthritis and will participate once the scene is blocked. An argument ensues, with Margaret now agreeing with Brian that this process, which we learn has gone on for three months, is getting no closer to results. In the argument, Michael reveals that he is having a hard time, and Susan explains that she and Michael were walking Michael’s dog the day before when the dog was attacked by a swan, causing the dog to lose an eye. Margaret calls bullshit on this attempt to gain pity, saying this doesn’t explain why they’ve gotten nowhere for the past three months. She quits. After she leaves, Michael turns on the rest of the cast, telling them they must commit tomorrow. He leaves. The cast argues, and it is clear that Brian is still on his own. When he puts together that Susan and Michael are romantically involved, he punches a wall.

Michael, Tracy, Tim, and Susan are gathered. Brian bursts in with a cast on his hand, and also with an entire script that he wrote overnight. The actors are initially excited, but after Michael dismisses the script as terrible, sight unseen, they side with him. Michael insists that Brian does not even know who he is, and therefore cannot create good art. He proceeds to lead him through the “I know who I am” exercise again. Brian fails by not revealing a good enough secret, so he tries making up something truly shocking, but is again called out, this time for telling a lie. He finally succeeds, breaking down crying, and revealing that he is in love with Susan. Finally he gets positive feedback from Michael and the rest of the company who excitedly join in the refrain of “I know who I am.” The energy builds and builds and Brian races around the room to the cheers of the company, until at last he jubilantly jumps out the window. We hear the screech of tires and the sound of something being run over.

The same rehearsal room. Susan, Tracy, Tim, Margaret, and Brian sit in a semicircle with several actors we haven’t met yet. They are at the first reading of Brian’s play, but Brian does not seem to be leading the process. He says nothing and goes unacknowledged. He no longer wears a cast on his arm. They go around the room introducing themselves and stating the characters they will play, who are all characters from Act I. Some commentary is made on the script’s inconsistencies, such as why Sheba and her father have a different last name from Fang, even though they are all one family. With each question that arises, Susan, Tim, Tracy and Margaret back up Brian’s script and insist that it be produced as is. Michael comes in and, although he is initially unwelcome, he expresses humility and says he is just there to listen to Brian’s play. Brian rises to make a mild objection but he is unacknowledged and Michael quietly sits in his chair. Margaret acknowledges that the play may not be any good, but she is glad they are doing it as a gesture of love and respect for Brian’s memory. As they begin to read aloud, they transform into Brian’s tigers as he triumphantly envisions this brave new thing he has created.

QUOTE


Subversively inventive and consistently entertaining. Unexpectedly poignant insights.

–The Los Angeles Times


Characters:

Act I
Chairman Longstripe – Newly elected leader of a fledgling and fragile democracy.
Panthar – Soldier and friend to Bumbletip; perhaps a little less certain than his friend.
Bumbletip – Soldier and friend to Panthar; a “regular Joe.”
Sabertooth – Soulful and strong, willing to sacrifice for a just cause.
Sheba Furworthy – Her purity is matched only by her bravery and beauty.
High Priestess Cava – Cunning religious leader of very high standing.
Fang Stalkington – Sheba’s brother, Keymaster of the 23rd Tigressional Congress, a military man, and an angry, controlling dick.
General Hiss – A fiery patriot who does not suffer fools lightly.
Calico the Smith – Thoughtful metalworker with no experience building benches.
Fleas Felinus – Reasonable and level-headed, he wishes only to expand his pond.
Professor Clawman Furworthy – Sheba’s father and a brilliant scientific mind; sadly, he does not understand tiger politics.
Salty Lickylegs – A concerned citizen.
Minx Furburger – Much desired as a mating partner.
Todd –Oversees the Tigerian Stripe, a bi-weekly newsletter containing local interest stories and tips on grooming.
Catbox McFeely – A tiger whose name is Catbox McFeely.
                                                                                                               
Act II                                                                                                      
Brian Johnson  – 20s-30s, actor/creator, longs for greatness.
Michael Livingston – 40s-60s, director/creator, charismatic with an instinct for dominance.
Tim – 20s-30s, actor/creator, Brian’s roommate, not terribly bright; plays Sabertooth in Act I.
Susan – 20s-30s, actor/creator, somehow both sturdy and needy; plays Calico the Smith, Fleas Felinius, Salty Lickylegs, and Minx Furburger in Act I.
Margaret – 60s, actor/creator, still involved in small theatre, generally decent; plays Mistress Cava and General Hiss and Act I.
Tracy – 20s-30s, actor/creator, ambitious, a true believer and good soldier; plays Sheba in Act I.
Steven – 30s-40s, actor, plays Panthar, Catbox McFeely, and Todd in Act I.
Ray – 30s-40s, actor, plays Chairman Longstripe in Act I.
Terry – 20s-40s, actor, plays Fang Stalkington in Act I.
James – 20s-40s, actor, plays Bumbletip in Act I.
Kevin – 60s-70s, actor, plays Professor Clawman Furworthy in Act I.
 
Setting: Act I – Multiple location in the Land of the Tigers including a castle rampart, the Tigressional Congress, and the rim of an active volcano.
Act II – A realistic rehearsal space in present-day Los Angeles.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups begin at $90.00 performance for theaters under 150 seats, and rise depending on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 

An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“…one of LA small theater’s best productions of recent years.” –LA Stage Times

“PICK OF THE WEEK… hilarious and thought provoking… acrobatic dexterity, a tongue-in-cheek tone, and perfect comic timing.” –LA Weekly

“Subversively inventive and consistently entertaining… unexpectedly poignant insights.” –The Los Angeles Times

“CRITIC’S PICK! Inspired… this production is able to reframe an onstage pander to perfection.” –Backstage

“…an exquisitely silly parody… I cannot begin to portray how delightful and funny and profane it is…” –LA Theatre Review.com

“…a wildly original, deliciously silly comedy…” –StageSceneLA.com

“Terrific… with Tigers joining such previous Burglars productions as Resa Fantastiskt MystiskEasy Targets and Focus Today, the Hammsters are up there with the better-known Troubies and Culture Clash as LA’s masters of long-form theatrical satire.” –LA StageTimes

An Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date, unless other arrangements have been made in advance with your Stage Rights Licensing Representative.

The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for LAND OF THE TIGERS  consists of: 19 Production Scripts / $220.00 (shipping included)

Production Scripts for Plays are professionally printed and bound with a full-color cover.

You will have the option to purchase additional Production Scripts at a discounted rate when you complete your Licensing Agreement.

Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee.

Optional Materials:

Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Printed Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.