By Naomi Iizuka
Directed by Hutch Pimentel
Produced by First floor Theatre
At Red Tape Theatre, Chicago
A blend of myth and the dark realities of the low street youth of the inner-city. Where brokenness is a daily struggle, the basic instinct for survival overrules the desire for trust.
First Floor Theatre embarked on its first full season with a selection of shows which reaffirm their mission of inspiring intellectual curiosity in their artists and audiences. The three shows which First floor theatre has lined up this season are smart moving funny and tragic. These shows look up to our past while asking vital questions about our future, both as individuals and as citizens of a contemporary city. Polaroid Stories definitely fits these terms well, and poses strong questions about some of the overlooked yet very real parts of contemporary society.
Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories was originally commissioned by En Garde Arts in New York, produced in the 1997 Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and received the 1998 PEN Center Award for Drama.
Polaroid Stories is an explosive re-imagining of Ovid’s Metamorphoses that blends interviews from street-based youth and sex workers with ancient myth. The play takes place in the underbelly of a city where junkies scheme, lovers run and the lost wander, a refuge for those living on the edge of society. The dark and broken stories within this play underline the issues within the lives of youth who weather by choice or circumstance are the shortcomings of the society which they are the result of.
Polaroid Stories is a well written dark drama which speaks about some of the heavy issues in the lives of street youth in the city. This not a heartwarming story, but a dark social commentary from a very up close and personal viewpoint. The sound and lighting create an intense atmosphere which highlights the mood of the production. Dramatic lighting and eerie sound scapes place this drama in a mythical realm. Sirens and sounds from the streets work well with the grungy back alleyway street atmosphere of the set. The ensemble acting is well done, and creates feelings of emotionally damaged lives in search of an escape. We relate to most of these misfits.
Polaroid Stories deftly uses documentary and mythology confluence to present the lives and stories of a group street-based youths struggling to survive in an urban metropolis. This show is worth a look.
Samuel Erza Fisch
Date Reviewed: November 21. 2013
At Red Tape Theater, 621 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL, https://firstfloortheater.com, tickets $25, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through December 21, 2013