RED BIKE, playing at MOXIE Theatre through February 16th captures that fleeting and adrenaline-filled time childhood where you are given the keys to exploration and adventure; when you get your dream bicycle.
Before the more adult and practical dreams of freedom and pushing boundaries that come with getting your driver’s license having a bike to ride around town and explore gives kids that first and more fleeting feeling of untapped adventure waiting to be discovered. When days seem to last forever, and every idea is the best one ever.
Nancy Ross and Timothy L. Cabal share the role of our intrepid eleven-year-old adventurer, as they ride their red bike all over town. When they find themselves zooming down the largest hill in town, that feeling of almost flying (and that tinge of worry when it feels like the bike might actually leave the ground) leaves their mind racing almost as fast as the bicycle wheels. This downhill race may only last 30-40 seconds in real life, but in the play that is more than enough time as the kid races through time, memories, questions, worries, and flights of imagination.
RED BIKE written by Caridad Svich, is written with no stage directions, little to no punctuation, and can have one to four people playing the single character. It is due to the capable and creative directing by Lisa Berger, and improvised work with Ross and Cabal that helped create such a charming, innovative, and entertaining production.
They race around the set, designed by Alondra Velez, utilizing the differences in height, bouncing off of walls, dancing, leaping, and even using chalk on the walls to build up and play in this world. It is so effective because it’s a visceral reminder of how kids play, full out and with unrestrained creativity and belief in what they imagine.
As the kid explores to the very edges of the town and absorbs the overheard conversations between Mom and Dad, or the reminiscing of the Old Bus Driver, their black and white understanding of the world expands into shades of gray.
The kid may not understand why they are starting to feel the insecurity about their possessions or about themselves and their place in the world. It may not be obvious to them that it is a financial security or the loss of the “American Dream” that is causing the shifting foundation beneath their feet, but they do know that the wheat fields are giving way to “condos, steel, and glass”, and that their dad works hard at the warehouse on the edge of town so people can get their stuff, or wonder why the richest guy in town looks lonely.
The high energy production helps smooth out some of the slower and less effective moments, including a sequence about a monster attacking the house that goes on far too long.
Costumes by Brooke Kesler cement the mirror image of the actors to create a whole and feels character age and appropriate to allow all of the actors’ movements throughout the show. Lighting by Ashley Bietz and Sound Designer Matt Lescault-Wood effectively complement the storytelling on stage.
The play is an energetic and imaginative enough to make any eleven year old proud and may make you wish to recapture some of that vitality and sense of adventure at whatever age you are now while contemplating the future you still have ahead.
RED BIKE is playing at MOXIE Theatre through February 16th. For ticket and showtime information go to www.moxietheatre.com