Directed by P. Marston Sullivan
Produced by BoHo Theatre Ensemble
At Theater Wit, Chicago
Hopeful interpretation of the Icarus myth reaches for the sun
Edwin Sanchez’s Icarus, now in a fine quirky production by BoHo Theatre Ensemble at Theater Wit, reflects upon the Icarus myth adding a hopeful spin where dreams fuel optimism. This comic fable owes much techniques of Theater of the Absurd as we see a brother and sister team – Altagracia (Brenda Arellano) and Primitivo (Niclas Gamboa) working hard to get Primitivo ready to be able to swim out and touch the sun – thus making him a famous celebrity. Altagracia also teaches her brother public relations techniques to foster his celebrity. They both believe that being in a wheelchair is only a mere bump in the road to success. Primitivo swims the ocean daily in preparation.
Altagracia – has a large red face birthmark – that renders her ‘ugly’ in the eyes of society. She reconciles that with her dedication to making her brother a success. They take up in an empty house on the ocean with their admirer Mr. Ellis (Tom Chiola), an insane man with a suitcase full of dreams. Ellis must only live under the house, not in it.
Next door, finds an aging diva – The Gloria (Heather Townsend) – desperately trying to regain her looks and to be invited to the ‘A’ list party. Her vanity is her survival mechanism. When Beau (Luke Daigle) – a friend of the house’s owner arrives, immediate competition begins for Altagraci’s love between Primitivo and Beau.
This 90 minute work is filled with rich poetic language, a few laughs and a spirit that suggests that dreaming and the effort to reach the sun – no matter how much one may get burned – is superior to not trying. The living must have dreams and taking risks is necessary for happiness. Beau wears a ski mask to hide his real pain. He realizes that he can love and be loved if he dreams and takes action toward personal reconciliation for his painful secret. Sanchez’s fable exudes optimism as the naive souls bravely take action. Their hope is eternal, their love sincere. Each strive to heal their damage whether physical of psychological.
The cast nimbly moves through Sanchez’s episodic work with comic aplomb, romantic sparks and blind optimism. Brenda Arellano and Heather Townsend were particularly effective. We cheer for these lost souls; we share their dreams. The journey of 90 minutes with Icarus is one invigorating swim out to reach the sun. It is worthy the effort.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: June 25, 2011
At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL, www.bohotheatre.com, tickets $25, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through July 24, 2011