Friday August 18th 2017

“Ameriville”

The new leadership of Victory Gardens Theater, under Artistic Director Chay Yew brings to the stage “Ameriville”, a piece that he also helpen in development as well as directed. This 90 minute, highly energetic piece, written and performed by UNIVERSES is an exploration of the American experience, but as seen through the eyes of those who are the “invisible people” rather than those who are involved with the running of our country. This is a sort of “hip-hop” performance piece involving song and dance as well as poetry readings that is supposed to bring facts to us, the audience, that many of us may not be aware of.

Set on a fairly blank platform stage with a backdrop designed to bring projections to our eyes (designed by Brian Freeland)that will add further dimension to the words of the four actor/performers on the stage.What begins with Katrina and the question of “If this were to happen again, would we be ready for it?”. In fact, the entire 90 minutes takes us to places where most of us fear to tread- Race, Immigration,Prejudices, hate, religion, guns laws and almost every topic that one might avoid looking at on a daily basis. Directed by Yew and choreographed by Millicent Johnnie, the scenes move quickly from New Orleans to other major cities and the topics are highlighted by projections of statistics that are somewhat alarming.

We deal with the homeless and how they got that way, health care and the lack of it, Illegals who take on the jobs no one else wants and struggle to make ends meet as well as have time to spend with their children ,why people hate other people ( jealousy is one main factor) and the KKK as well as almost any other topic you might think of. While some people may call this anti-America- bringing up all the American ideals that have gone wrong, I think the point of this production is to shock us; to shock us into taking a closer look at who we are and how we treat others, some of which we know little, or nothing about!

The four performers, all highly talented, William Ruiz, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp,Steven Sapp and Gamal Chasten make each segment of this exploration come alive and keep the interest of the audience from start to finish and the 90 minutes, moves very quickly. Each story is one that helps to weave the overall  look at our country’s identity as they bring our awareness to new heights using poetry, song and dance and while the subject matter may be alarming for some, causing them not to find this production as typical Victory Gardens entertainment, I found it powerful and entertaining as well as educational and well worth the trip to Lincoln Park. If you are not into the political scene, think of this as an eye opener so that you can help make the changes for the future- the changes that will allow us to be prepared for some of the problems that we face today. Perhaps, you will make your voice heard after you learn about some of the things you were not aware of.

“Ameriville” will continue at Victory Gardens Theater, located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue through February 26th with performances as follows:

Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.,Saturday afternoon at  4 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.- there is also a Wednesday matinee performance at 2 p.m. on the 15th instead of the evening performance

Tickets range from $20-$50 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 773-871-3000, tickets@victorygardens.org or visit the box office in person or online at www.victorygardens.org

Students tickets are available at $15 and seniors and rush discounts are available as well.

There are also special events which you can find online. There is valet parking available, street parking ( mostly metered) and discounted parking just down the street at Children’s Memorial Hospital garage.

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