Friday September 22nd 2017

“Unbroken”

There is a new theater troupe in town, Kid Brooklyn Productions, whose mission is to create unique,relevant,interesting and entertaining work- in all arts, but primarily theater. Their first production, “Unbroken” bu Alexandra Wood is a one hour show in 6 scenes ( no intermission) that was inspired by “La Ronde” by Arthur Schnitzler and moved to present day,London. The story is one of  sex, lost love, and the  normal lives of each of the six characters as they interplay with some of the others. Directed by  Evan F. Caccioppoli ( a founder of the group) on a very limited stage are  at The Side Project Theatre, another store-front in East Rogers Park, there are some marvelous moments in going from scene to scene, again, in a very limited space. Because of the space, all six of our actors are on stage for the entire production, those not involved in the particular scene, sitting towards the back, trying to remain motionless. This is hard to do and often confuses the audience as well as distracts. Perhaps, one day they will remount on a larger stage with wings so that we ,the audience, are able to focus completely on the action between the two actors in each scene.

The play begins with Johnno, a rock singer ( Brian Barber, who truly has the look) sitting and talking with Amy, a married woman who has come to the club with her sister ( well played by Sara Jo Buffington) and as they talk about their lives and what is good and bad, we see the sparks fly a bit and as they have sex, the scene closes. The next scene opnes with Johnno visiting Laura ( deftly played by Kate Black) a former girlfriend who is now married. They talk about their past and the fact that his ideas have changed from who he was and she tells him that although she threw him out, she still loves him. He takes that as a sign to pursue her, but despite her pledge of love for him, she is married. They do have sex and another blackout. During each blackout there are loud ticks, almost heart beats as the actors redress and move the simple furinture around the sparse stage. The third scene has Laura in bed, waiting for Steve’s ( strongly played by Jason Nykiel) return home. He has just found out that their not being able to have a family is his fault and as they express themselves through sex, they both realize that the chances are very slim for this couple to achieve their dream of parenthood.

From here we go to Steve’s encounter with Zoe ( the very sensuous Julia Daubert, who by the way is the only character with no accent) at a speed dating event. She is seeking someone to come to a wedding from her company, not wanting to go alone and he is “just looking”. This scene ends with them making a date, but in making the move to the next scene, Zoe at work, I felt that the Steve /Zoe scene was not complete. Now we are at work with Zoe and her boss, David ( David Henry Wrigley) who it turns out is Amy’s lackluster husband. Rumors about the office are that david is not into women and Zoe tries to disprove this, sending him home to Amy, where they make mad passionate love and then he tells her he wants a divorce. Huh?

For most of the play, I really thought we were headed in a direction where the intermingling of these characters would be life changing for all. I figured that the childless couple would have a child, not by Steve, but by the last encounter Laura had with Johnno and that Johnno who now wants children and a family might find that Amy was to his liking and that perhaps David would be gay and end up with Steve. Of course, where would this leave Laura and Zoe? Just some crazy thoughts that I had because I did not feel that what we were presented was a complete story with a start, a middle and a conclusion that would satisfy an audience and not have them questioning what they just saw. Perhaps Ms Wood can go back to the drawing board and see if there is a way to complete the picture that she and Caccioppoli have started to put on their canvas.

This is a new theater group working in a limited space with a new play, so let’s give them E for effort and keep an eye on them. If these actors are part of the troupe, I am sure that we will get a chance to see them again, and I for one look forward to that. Meanwhile, “Unbroken” will  have this weekend to see-  Thursday, the 31st,Saturday,April 1st and Sunday, April 2nd at 7:30 p.m. at The Side Project Theatre located at 1439 West Jarvis (Red Line stop) and street parking ( no zoned parking). Tickets are cash only  $10 ( $5 for students) and can be ordered online at kidbrooklynproductions@gmail.com

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