Tuesday November 21st 2017

“”The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” reviewed by Carol Moore

Recommended **** Other Theatre’s “The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” is a modern cautionary tale, a sharply satiric story involving a lousy actor looking for meaning in his life; a manipulative politician looking for a patsy, and a blogger. The story is funny, until it’s not, as it builds to its inevitable and tragic conclusion. 3 ½ Spotlights

Renzo Rafaeli (Christopher Meister) is a failure.  He’s a washed-up actor who wants to do one meaningful thing with his life.  He’s decided to commit suicide on line but he’s very nervous.  He forgets his line, has a glass of wine.  He moves the backdrop and the light, has a glass of wine.  He’s so incompetent, his only online follower starts making fun of him.  Finally, just as he’s got the gun in his mouth, someone knocks at his door.

Since it’s his college friend David Dover (Robert N. Isaac), who is now a congressman, he postpones his suicide.  David is upset because the mayor is going to bulldoze the housing in an area in his constituency which was flooded.  Although he’s upset about it, he says he can’t do anything because the mayor helped him get elected.  He tells Renzo a story about a schmuck who dressed up as a ‘superhero’ and jumped in front of a bulldozer, stopping everything.

Somehow, David manipulates Renzo into volunteering to be the ‘superhero’ – and he thinks it was his idea.  Renzo wants his costume to be spandex.  He wants knee high boots and a utility belt which will hold lots of things.  David wants the ‘superhero’ to be called Volo Publius, but Renzo comes up with the slogan, “Let’s get this shit done”.

Renzo calls in an anonymous tip to Vanessa (Aida Delaz), an investigative blogger.  After telling him off – because she thinks he’s a critic of her blog – she agrees to cover his event.  Her blog, Indie-Tegrity had about 58 followers.  Wearing a cheesy red and gold costume, Volo Publius is successful beyond Renzo’s wildest dreams.

The congressman has a couple of other projects he wants stopped, Renzo is thrilled to be a superhero and Vanessa’s blog is growing exponentially – everyone gains, until they don’t.  When Volo Publius goes rogue, the congressman hires Hitwoman (Hannah Toriumi) to deal with the problem quietly.

Although the production values seemed elementary, they definitely get the job done. A white screen at center stage is almost like watching a character in the story. Just keep watching and shadow puppet special effects will pop up, manipulated by Puppeteers Celeste Burns, Adelina Feldman-Schultz and Becca Sheehan.  Subtitles pop up too.  Warning: if the subtitles are on the white screen, you can read them.  If they’re on a red screen, they are almost impossible to read.

Other Theatre’s “The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” runs through October 29th at:

Chicago Dramatists,

1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Metered street parking is available.

Running time is 90 minutes, no intermission. Performances are :

Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 pm

Sundays at 3:00 pm, with additional performances on Wednesdays, October 18th and 25th at 8:00 pm.

Tickets are $25. FYI www.chicagodramatists.org.

To see what others are saying, visit http://www.theatreinchicao.com, to to Review Round-Up and click at “The Making of a Modern Folk Hero”

 

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