Joe Eyre is the writer of Tiger, a brand new magical-realist play about grief, featuring a tiger, which will play at the Omnibus Theatre, Clapham.
Tiger is the second play by writer and actor Joe Eyre, and makes its full length debut at Omnibus Theatre in November 2023. Presented in association with Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, the show will also host a series of additional events including a Death Café – a free safe space where anyone can come together and share personal experiences of bereavement and loss.
Tiger plays at Omnibus Theatre 7 November – 2 December 2023.
Your new play Tiger is coming to the Omnibus Theatre, what can you tell us about the show?
Tiger‘s about a stand-up comedian called Alice, and her partner Oli, who’s a doctor. They’re going through a real struggle months after an unexpected death in Alice’s family, and they decide to rent out their spare room to make ends meet.
On New Year’s Eve, a mysterious, larger-than-life, wise-cracking Tiger moves in with them, and while Tiger’s arrival helps Alice out of her funk, it pushes all three characters to various breaking points. It also has lots of very silly jokes in it and a talking cheesecake.
What inspired you to write it?
So I produced a short version of Tiger as part of VAULT Festival in 2018. There was a lovely response there, and that was when I realised the story wasn’t finished. A lot has changed about the play since I first started writing it; some of it’s connected to my difficulties with depression, but it’s difficult to say what inspired it. But it’s the strength of the three characters, and the encouragement of friends and family, that have made me keep writing it. Now it’s finished, I can’t wait to share this version with audiences, and Omnibus is the perfect theatre for it.
How difficult did you find it to blur the lines of comedy and tragedy with this play?
The great joy of rehearsals has been that our cast are three naturally funny actors, and very funny people: they all walk that line beautifully. The characters don’t revel in sadness: if I’ve done my job right the situation is sad enough, and they’re trying to find a way through it with the audience, and a lot of that relies on comedy. There’s a lot of real silliness in the play, and while there are a couple of moments where it gets tough, I think we always remember to open a window.
You’re working with Myles O’Gorman, who directs, what do you like about what Myles has brought to the play?
Myles O’Gorman is an exceptional director, a true collaborator, and to be honest, he’s a pretty marvellous human being. Myles got the play, completely, from day one. He’s helped me push the characters into places they needed to go. Myles also brings a sensitivity and understanding of how this play is open for exploring certain aspects of queerness – not just through the characters, but in the experience of bereavement – that has opened the whole thing up in a way I’m so grateful for. I’m doubly lucky in that Myles brought his collaborator Hazel Low on board to design the play: their intelligence, panache and apparently limitless creativity is making the play into a rich, vibrant experience for audiences. I never imagined it, but I’m happy to say it’s going to be a visual feast!
What can you tell us about some of the wrap-around events taking place alongside Tiger?
We’ve been working with the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham just around the corner from Omnibus Theatre. They’ve been so generous with their time, and will be helping us with events throughout the show’s run. We’re hosting a Death Café with them at Omnibus after our first matinee performance: this will be an opportunity for people to take part in a directed, group conversation about things to do with mortality – it’s not therapy or anything like that, the idea is it’s just a way to momentarily demystify something that affects everyone, in a friendly, open setting. I’m really looking forward to it. We’re also running a number of post-show discussions where audiences can talk about various aspects of the play, and the Royal Trinity Hospice have supported us a great deal in discussing different approaches to bereavement with the cast and creative team.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Tiger?
It’s easy to give the impression that Tiger‘s a really heavy show, but I would encourage people to come for a good time. The play’s an attempt to find some hope and even some joy in something we all face at one time or another, and the cast are doing the most extraordinary job bringing the characters fully to life. If the play helps anyone at all find some relief I’ll be very happy, but most of all I hope seeing it at Omnibus will be a really good night out!