DUBAI: There is a tiger on the prowl in their small town, but the characters in the play, Tigers Be Still, have other things to worry about. They are fighting more dangerous foes such as illness, depression, and guilt. The play, presented by H72 Productions at The Junction from January 16 to January 18, is a comedy about fighting the tigers within and bouncing back from setbacks in life.

Tigers Be Still is an award-winning play by American playwright Kim Rosenstock, who is also a writer on the popular TV show, New Girl.

This staging of the play is directed by Gautam Goenka, co-founder and artistic director of The Junction. “This is essentially a coming of age story of Sherry Wickman, a young art therapist who helps herself and the other characters to overcome difficult situations in their lives,” says Goenka.

“The characters include Sherry’s bedridden mother, her neurotic sister, the principal of the school where she teaches who is mourning the death of his wife, and his troubled teenage son. Also, there is a tiger who has escaped from the local zoo. Despite the circumstances, the play is humorous and full of positivity,” Goenka adds.

Goenka, who grew up in Dubai and has been involved with local theatre for over two decades, has assembled a cast of home-grown talents. Farzana Palathingal is playing the central character of Sherry, Aditi Nath plays her sister, and making his debut on stage is 17-year-old Khushil Doshi, who plays a teenager racked with grief and guilt after his mother’s death.

“I enjoy acting because I love the idea of being able to put yourself in the minds of other people and understand the world a little better,” says Doshi. “I have acted in school plays, attended acting workshops in Dubai and New York and am currently applying to film schools in the US because I want to be a filmmaker. I feel so fortunate to be picked for this challenging role that has a range of emotions and to work with an experienced award-winning director in my debut,” he says.

Goenka himself is playing the role of the teenager’s father, and his assistant director, Saif Khan, is also a Dubai-based award-winning director, writer, producer, and actor.

“We wanted to kick off the new year at The Junction with a comedy and we hope the audience will enjoy this quirky story of ordinary people who find the strength to confront real and metaphoric tigers,” says Goenka.

“We all have to find ways to deal with grief and loss, and talking about it helps, but the hardest part is starting the conversation. Theatre offers us moments to pause and reflect on how others are dealing with the same stresses.”

Tigers Be Still will be staged at The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, at 7.30pm on January 16 and 17 and at 4.30pm and 7.30pm on January 18. Tickets available at the venue and on

— Jyoti Kalsi is a Dubai-based arts enthusiast.