Wednesday January 24th 2018

“For the Love of (or, the Roller Derby Play)” reviewed by Carol Moore

 

pridelogoHighly Recommended **** Pride Films and Plays has done themselves proud – I know, I just couldn’t resist – with their world premiere production of “For the Love Of (or, the Roller Derby Play)”. Director Rachel Edwards Harvith has assembled a talented cast who do full justice to a complicated and very physically challenging script. 3 ½ Spotlights

By the way, the actors in “For the Love Of (or, the Roller Derby Play)” do not wear roller skates. Pride’s Buena stage is so small that if they were skating, they’d have been quite literally rolling over the audience. Roller Derby matches, with five players from two teams competing in two-minute jams, are intense. Harvith figured out a way to simulate that intensity without putting skates on anyone.

There is one quirk to Roller Derby, which might be unique to that sport, all the players choose pseudonyms or monikers for themselves. They never use their ‘civilian’ names when anywhere near their teammates.derbylogo

People who dedicate themselves to sports, especially somewhat marginal sports, seem to have a different perspective from the rest of us. While most of us know that one of the people in a relationship has to be a grown-up – and pay the bills – other people just don’t get worried about stuff like that. To them, the team means everything.

Joy Ride (Alex Dauphin), the central character in “For the Love Of”, is one of those people. Although her partner, Michelle (Kenzie Seibert), has a college degree and a very good job, Joy Ride is content to work a part-time job in a large-box shoe store.   When she gets on the Brooklyn Scallawags, she finds the one thing she really wants to do.

At her first practice, Joy Ride meets her hero, Lizzie Lightning (Erica Hernandez), one of the best players in the New York area. As she waits for practice to begin, she meets her teammates – Diaz de los Muertos (Amanda Raquel Martinez), Hot Flash (Tricia Rogers), Squeaky Mouse (Emily Marso), Prosecute-Her (Savannah Cannistraro) and Anna-Stecia (Deanna Reed-Foster). She also learns that Lizzie and the Scallawags coach, Andrea the Vagiant (Lauren Goode), have some unresolved issues.for_the_love_of-1

As the season rolls along, Joy Ride gets more and more involved with her team and less and less interested in her partner. When Michelle loses her job and urges Joy to try for a promotion at work, they argue. When Michelle eventually finds a new job in Portland, Oregon, she asks Joy to move with her.

Mentioning Portland leads to my experience with Roller Derby. My daughter-in-law, Samantha, aka Slam Rocks, does Roller Derby in Portland, which also happens to be the home of the current national Roller Derby Champions, the Rose City Rollers. When I sent Sam the press release, she sent me greetings from Joy ‘joyride’ Oliveria, who is retired now, but was, according to Sam, a kickass skater and an awesome coach. A coincidence? Hmmm. It’s a mystery.

“For the Love Of (or, the Roller Derby Play)” runs through April 16th in the Buena at Pride Arts Center

4147 N. Broadway, Chicago. Running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes, with an intermission.

Performances are

derby12-400x267Thursday  7:30 p.m.,

Friday 7:30 p.m.

Saturday  7:30 pm

Sunday at 3:30 pm.

Tickets are $25 for reserved seating, $20 general admission.

Street parking can be hard to find in this neighborhood.  Best paid option is the metered lot at 4149 N. Clarendon.

FYI (800) 737-0984 or www.pridefilmsandplays.com.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “For The Love Of )or, the Roller Derby Play”)derby13-400x267

 

 

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