Inside Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Inside Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Sep 8 2014

A guest series by Bonnie Baldini, Production Dramaturg

This Week: Tim Dugan's Military Mindset

As fall begins, the folks involved with Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo are gearing up for tech rehearsals! The process is moving quickly, and the ensemble is working to develop their characters efficiently and accurately. Last week I spoke to actress Stephanie Iozzia about her work with the Arabic language and culture in the piece. This week, actor Timothy Dugan shared his insight into the training he went through to learn about the life and habits of a Marine.

Tim explained that he plays "Tom, a Marine, who starts the play standing lookout at the Baghdad Zoo." Tim admitted an expected unfamiliarity with the experience of a soldier, but shared that "working with David Glover, our assistant director who has first-hand military training and experience, has been enormously helpful." David's guidance is present at every moment of rehearsal. In the beginning of the process when Tim and Darryl Daughtry, who plays Tom's fellow marine Kev, were not rehearsing a scene with director David Girard, they were in another room with Glover going through their own version of boot camp.

Dugan shared that this training has changed the way he viewed his character Tom. It helped him "gather and ingest as many specifics about the world of the play: honing in on what is it like to go through Marine training and then to see active duty." Not only does this training affect his perspective, but it also it specifies his physical choices as an actor, as he worked out "the logistics of hand signals with my fellow soldier, how to hold the gun, and the physicality needed to move with the weight of the gear." Overall, this process has given him a glimpse of a life he does not know.  Tim shared, "This work is inspiring, and I truly appreciate the specificity and rigor of the training that a Marine goes through."

The atmosphere of the rehearsals lends itself to discovery; the actors are able to explore and examine a way of life quite different from their own. David Glover, as well as the cast and production staff, are constantly observing in the audience, and are encouraged to "call bull" when combat does not look realistic. The ensemble is used as a combined facilitator to ensure that the actors onstage are delving into their characters honestly, both physically and mentally.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo premieres at the MainStage @ the Adrienne Theater with a preview on September 17th, and runs through September 27th.

Next week: A discussion with director David Girard!


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