Aired on KSDS-FM on 1/31/20
RUN DATES: 1/18/19 – 2/16/20
VENUE: Moxie Theatre
Sometimes, all the stars align in the theatrical firmament.
At Moxie Theatre, there’s a perfect confluence of playwright, director, designers and performers.
Caridad Svich, an award-winning playwright and graduate of UC San Diego, has conjured a miraculous magic-trick.
“Red Bike,” the first installment of a seven-play cycle, is a dramatic tone poem, a stunningly lyrical, non-linear meditation on the state of our nation.
With its “open text,” offering no stage directions, punctuation, or definitive number of characters, the play reflects America’s social-cultural-economic divide, and the anxieties and realities of small-town living — as seen through the eyes of an 11 year old.
Gifted, wildly imaginative director Lisa Berger, whose work is seen far too infrequently, has cast two mega-talented performers: Timothy L. Cabal and Nancy Ross.
Moving in tandem, they represent multiple sides of The Kid. The long-coveted red bike becomes a symbol of freedom, mobility and our consumerist culture.
Past, present and future collide as The Kid takes a thrilling ride to the top of the hill, and is rewarded with a broader view. What’s revealed along the journey are homeless children, surveillance drones and the devastation of the environment, as trees and wheat-fields give way to “condos, steel and glass.”
The luminous language intersperses the fear, anger and uncertainty of adults with the exhilaration, optimism and superstardom fantasies of a child on the cusp of adolescence, who knows that all these dreams may change by the time age 12 rolls around.
What makes it all magical is the combination of astute direction, shadow and paper puppets, fanciful set including skate ramps, terrific sound and light effects, and energizing music.
The actors, who improvised to create most of the moves, including stylized gestures, hip hop, pole sliding and chalk drawing, brilliantly convey the sheer joy of words and performance.
Time is fluid. The perilous, hella-fast downhill ride lets us feel the wind in our hair and revisit the exhilaration of youth. But Svich also subtly pushes our existential-crisis buttons.
The Red Bike embodies our pasts — and our hopes for a brighter and shinier future.
©2020 PAT LAUNER/Patté Productions, Inc.