Upon entrance to the stage, theater goers are informed that the seats in the front row are the “splatter zone” for blood during the simulated fight scenes which utilize every inch of the stage. This reviewer sat safely in the second row. In between scenes the crew quickly mops up the blood so the actors don’t slip on it during the next scene. The backdrop of the stage is a faux brick wall covered in graffiti that exudes to the grittiness of play.
We are transported to the year 2077 where a virus has killed 80% of the male population. In a gender bending twist, females now have control in both the workplace and the bedroom. The men who remain are docile, subservient, and are routinely objectified by women who now control and run the world. Men are targeted on the street by gangs of women while a police force of women is in charge of protecting them.
The Factory Theater Serves Never ending Violence
The fight scenes are expertly choreographed and each blow appears real with blood splattering the stage with each hit. The fight scenes are intensely realistic sometimes involving multiple characters fighting at the same time giving the audience a full stage of brutality to view. The hit each other with nightsticks, their hands, legs, and elbow blows similar to karate and once they have them on the floor it resembles a wrestling match with plenty of death grips. Sometimes the policewomen are victorious; other times it’s the rogue warriors that win the match.
The play isn’t much more than this series of fights. With lots of screaming, overt vulgarity, and sexual innuendo we meet a future where women have become the dominant force. Female chauvinism runs rampant. Guns and knives have all been eliminated and this form of street fighting is how the policewomen maintain control. But this is no utopia where killings have been eliminated —necks are snapped and both women and men run in fear of being beaten to death. When the most skilled street fighter and ringleader obtains a knife and has a cohort create a rudimentary gun they go on a rampage to kill several of the elite policewomen.
Blood and more blood
This play is extremely violent with crude language being the rule. Fight City is not really about the dialogue but the fight scenes. These fight scenes are fantastic to watch and fight directors Chris Smith and Maureen Yosko deserve praise for choreographing the actors to simulate the realness of brutality.
To this reviewer however, that isn’t enough to heartily recommend this play to anyone other than those who have a keen appetite for fight scenes. This play was BYOB and perhaps with alcohol the vulgarity may appear more humorous. Otherwise it feels flat. Surprisingly, one set of parents brought their three children to sit in the splatter zone. While it may feel "cool" to sit there if you are ten, some parents may not want their children to hear the sexually graphic dialogue that was throughout this play.
About the Author:
Steven Braun, Volunteer Engagement Committee Leader and Volunteer Trainer at Center on Halsted was born and raised suburbanite, now 30 years Chicago urbanite. Steve is a real estate entrepreneur and germane to these pages, also a member of, advocate for, and friend to the LGBTQ Community. When not volunteering, writing, or at the gym, Steve can be found watching "House Hunters."
July 21 to August 26, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm
The Factory Theater
623 W. Howard St. Chicago
$25 General admission
For information and tickets visit The Factory Theater website
Note: an excerpt of this review appears in Theater in Chicago.