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.
LIGHTING AND SCENERY ARE WELL DONE
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 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.
STORIES ARE SPOOKY AND SURPRISING
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.
A BALANCED RECIPE FOR FUN
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.