By David Alex
Directed by Maggie Speer
Produced by Azusa Productions
At Redtwist Theatre, Chicago
Vietnam Era morality drama hones in on hypocrisy
Set in small town America in 1966, David Alex’s play deals with honesty, commitment, and betrayal. Since I was close to issues centering on the Vietnam War in 1966, some of Alex’s characters reacted to the war in ways that I found to be false. Living in Chicago, the place of mass demonstrations and large-scale media hype, I never found any extremely pro-war patriots like Alex’s Sally. So I question the motivations of Alex’s characters, yet I realized that I am too emotionally involved remembering that era. My way of dealing with the “to serve or not to serve” dilemma was to join the Illinois Army National Guard Military Police that was formed to protect from civil unrest.
Alex’s Eroica is a 75 minute morality play about secrets and hypocrisy. Victor (Felipe Carrasco) is the popular 20-something basketball coach at the town’s local high school. He has a medical deferment from the draft, but he is a pro-war patriot. His wife, Sally (Sara Pavlak McGuire), is a super-patriot who lost her father before she was born to WWII and now has her brother MIA in Vietnam. She laments that Victor can’t serve. Why?
Victor’s sister, Grace (Sarah Koerner), is an anti-war liberal nun who tolerates Sally’s views. When a former student Charles (Garrett Young) who was kicked-off the basketball team for a drunken incident becomes involved with Sally as they both try to understand early computer programming, the plot becomes preposterous.
It seems Charles is out for revenge against Victor as he tries to get proof that Victor’s draft status may not be accurate. Will the secrets destroy Victor and his marriage as lies test the faith and patriotism of all? With the extreme use of symbols, cliches, and trite euphemisms, the language used here reeks of “playwright speak.” I did like the performances of Sara Pavlak McGuire and Garrett Young but the central issue of hypocrisy and deceit is a tad hard to swallow.
Date Reviewed: July 10, 2016
For more info checkout the Eroica page at theatreinchicago.com
At Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago, www.dime.io, tickets $20, $12 for students, seniors and industry, Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 3 pm, running time is 75 minutes without intermission,through August 7, 2016