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‘Tigers’ is enchanting experience for all ages

Reel Critic Dink O’Neal and his daughters, Brenna and Gillian, saw

the world premiere of “When Tigers Smoked Long Pipes” at the Victory

Theatre Center in Burbank. It is a collaborative effort between three

companies, The Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, The Orphans Theater


Company and The Victory.


Brenna O’Neal, 13, of Burbank will be in the eighth grade this

fall at Village Christian School in Sun Valley.


The Victory Theatre Center’s production of “When Tigers Smoked

Long Pipes” was extremely well done. The set was very interesting

with a lot of twinkling lights that made the mood mysterious and a

number of different objects added to it to change the location of

each story.

Each of the five stories explained things we see every day, such

as why you can’t look into the sun, why a rooster crows or why there

is dew each morning.


The costumes were beautiful and sometimes very funny with actors

playing the roles of humans and animals. Most of the time they wore

hats to symbolize their character, such as ears for the tiger, bear

and deer. The cast played musical instruments during the show,

including double-headed drums and a series of gongs.

The whole play was quite enjoyable because it kept me on the edge

of my seat wondering what would happen next. I would recommend this

show for anyone over the age of 6.



Gillian O’Neal, 7, of Burbank will be in the third grade this fall

at Salem Lutheran School in Glendale.

The producers of “When Tigers Smoked Long Pipes” did a good job on

this play. It is spooky and surprising at times. And I laughed a lot

too. Pretty much every actor played at least three characters who

were people or animals.

I liked the man who dressed up as the old mother who made pumpkin

soup. Some of the stories were very sad because a character died.

Others were very funny and entertaining.

The set had many things held up by strings. The actors used the

props to help tell the stories. What caught my eye was the sparkle

and flash of the lights. The Victory Theatre has 48 seats and is very

clean. So are the bathrooms.

I think my friends would like this play because we like to work on

mysteries at school.


Dink O’Neal of Burbank is an actor and father of fellow critics

Brenna and Gillian O’Neal.

Like a perfectly balanced kettle of soup, the Lodestone Theatre

Ensemble and Orphans Theater Company’s joint production of “When

Tigers Smoked Long Pipes” at The Victory Theatre Center has something

to suit everyone’s taste.

Utilizing playwright Angela Kang’s imaginative script as a basic

broth, director Robert Shinso and his fantastically versatile

eight-member cast add dashes of anachronistic humor as well as native

music and dance to season our theatrical meal. Tales such as “Sister

Sun, Brother Moon” and “Woodcutter and the Heavenly Maiden” explain

the origins of both celestial and earthly occurrences while serving

as Korean equivalents to Greek and Native American mythology.

Others tug heartstrings as we witness the devotion of “Shim Chong:

The Blind Man’s Daughter” or laugh as an earth-dwelling god outsmarts

a tiger in the “Legend of Tan Gun.” Choosing favorites from this

truest of ensembles seems unfair as each actor assumes countless

roles; however, Laurel Devaney’s comic stylings are unparalleled

whether portraying a bear, a wise-cracking God of the Heavens, a

seafaring ship’s captain or the title role in the evening’s final

vignette, “The Devoted Tiger.”

Cynthia Q. Ignacio’s cave-like scenic design of flowing black

material is augmented by sculpted metal work that comes to life

throughout the performance. Chris Osborne’s lighting, complete with

thousands of twinkling stars, lends perfect ambience while

emphasizing the rainbow of colors and styles found in Ann

Closs-Farley’s take on traditional Korean folk costumes.

Finally, Dennis Yen’s music and sound design as well as drumming

and dance choreography by Hi-Za Yoo transport us, adult and child

alike, to a storytelling realm you will not want to miss.