Patient: Red Bike
Legal Guardians: Playwright Caridad Svich, Director Samantha Nieves
Surname: Morton College
Address: 3801 South Central Avenue, Cicero
Insurance: PagePay Plus
Symptoms: Yearnin’ and peddlin’
“RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE.” Damn it, it’s in my head. “RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE. RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE.” I liked the stage lights. They were red. The stage was pulsing red when they said “RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE.” It was aggressive, bold. Wow.
The actors were picturesque while the scene was a properly tiered mess—what a dump. The last time I came over to the Jedlicka, the backdrop for The Last Five Years was the monolithic iceberg from the movie Titanic. This time, the scene and lights created something cozy but energetic, just like the lil’ dreamers themselves. The theater’s surrounding town of Cicero is like any other suburb around Chicago, but to me, it felt more spacey and slower than the rest. The young adults in this play were an organic local harvest.
Svich’s narration consistently tugs the audience to listen in on these kids’ soliloquies like ecstatic diary entries. The tone was transcendent and mostly not bogus. The young actors where enthralling; they perfectly synthesized with Svich’s script. “When I grow up,” where the magic words of this world. The story, though, was far from immortal. I was distracted at the middle and towards the end, almost not catching it. Drama is present, but its impact was laced with a dash of cliches (RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE-RED-BIKE) too simplistic even for a YA theme. This includes the light antagonist. The style and plot was about gazing at the stars and planning one’s future by connecting the dots. I still felt… that… the symbolic antagonist… was not prominent…. enough… or else what was the necessity… of peddling desperately away on… RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES?
The patient was convulsing with amateur hour. Lines were shaky and sometimes droned. The playbill introduced fresh student actors, but for the full priced ticket and mainstream advertisement that reeled in moi, these issues should have been addressed for a crisper showtime. They really knocked down the show’s quality. The spirit was there but considerably lacking in articulation. Mara Galeno was appropriately darling and optimistic but overly wonky, as to be unbelievable and lame with half her stage presence. Alejando Salinas had the loudest authentic voice, but even he had his stilted deliveries. I liked Marco Arias; he was a go-getting young leader, but still he lacked sophistication with the rest of his stoop kid troupe. In a way, these flaws made the kiddies more appealing as kiddies within a play, but I still couldn’t help cringing from my seat.
The play’s message was noble and nostalgic, but did not leave any memorable taste in my mouth. The characters, tone, and dialogue took off with Svich’s talent, but I never departed with it. I was never naturally brought to a conclusion because the lack of an involved antagonist did away with one. I grew weary of the speculative style; this would have been fine if it weren’t for the small ideas that were deceptively too small for this small town script. I didn’t leave with anything more than my first impression from the posters: young kiddies dreaming from their RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES-RED-BIKES. With sharper actors and a more sober script, this patient will heal well to a four star health rating, but currently rests post-op with a three star health rating.