Saturday, April 11th, 2015

A PULITZER Prize-nominated play that featured Robin Williams on Broadway is coming to Playlovers Theatre this May.

Written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Andre Victor, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is a comic drama about the lives of two US marines and an Iraqi translator who encounter a quick-witted tiger on the streets of war-torn Baghdad.

As it witnesses the puzzling absurdities of war, the tiger – played by Williams on Broadway – attempts to find meaning, forgiveness and redemption among the city’s ruins.

The play was nominated for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and also received Drama League, Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is a play about life and death, in and around war,” Victor said. “It’s comedy-based but written as a dramatic play.

“When you get the level of performance right, the comedy shines through without making fun of the show itself.

“The biggest challenge is the process of bringing all the elements together, such as the set, lights and sound, to ensure my actors are able to work with all the necessary components.”

First performing at high school in the comedy musical HONK!, Victor has since appeared with 9 Lives, Laughing Horsing Productions and Roleystone Theatre in a variety of shows.

He was inspired to direct Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo because of Robin Williams’ involvement, made more poignant after the comic’s death.

“After looking at the script, I fell in love with the language of the play and how playwright Rajiv Joseph uses regular sentences in creative ways,” Victor said.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo plays at 8pm May 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 with 2pm matinees May 10 and 17. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 0415 777 173 or at

A high tea follows the May 17 performance and is an additional $5.

Playlovers is located at Hackett Hall, Draper Street (off Underwood Avenue), Floreat.



bengal1-2: Jaxon George, left and Cameron Leese play two US marines in Iraq, confronted by a quick-witted tiger (Katie Toner) in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

bengal3: Sandra De Witt Hemala plays an Iraqi woman in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo who is used to the terror – but not the US marines, including Kev (Jaxon George).

bengal4: Natalie Cox plays Iraqi teenager Hadia in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo with Cameron Leese as US marine Tom.

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Playlovers has been in operation for more than 50 years. Generally performing from Hackett Hall, Draper Street, Floreat, the company puts on four to six seasons a year - including one to two musicals. 

Members are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the club: on the creative side (performing, directing, etc), the more technical activities (lighting, backstage, set-building, costume-making, etc) or on the sidelines (serving teas and coffees, and generally helping with other front of house activities).

Andre Victor
P: 0426 294 184


Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo Robin Williams Broadway Playlovers theatre stage performance play performing arts Iraq war Pulitzer Prize Tony Award comedy drama



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