You can be rich or poor, affluent or hardly noticeable, black or white, smart or not—and still be subject to similar mistakes and internal struggles. Deep down, we are all just human.
Writer’s Theatre Shows Us How the other half lives
The grandeur of the Stick Fly set alone is enough to be a constant reminder that you are walking into a life you probably would never be able to afford. Welcome to a vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard: modern day kitchen, nice red leather couch, poignant art hanging on the wall. This place is nice. There’s even a maid. Well, a young girl who is cleaning up and turns out to be the daughter of the maid. The point is clear: rich people mill about, but not all will be rich.
As the family trickles in, one by one, little seeds of sooner or later, something is about to go down start getting planted. And you don’t have to wait long for the ripe fruit to grow, fester and rot. First to arrive is youngest (and idealistic) son Kent (Eric Gerard),with his fiancé Taylor (Jennifer Latimore). Taylor is clearly dazzled by the splendor. A seed of classism is planted. He is a writer; she is an entomologist. They are not exactly the usual Martha’s Vineyard fare. Soon after, the older brother, Flip (DiMonte Henning), channeling a much cooler-headed (and hearted) Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, arrives. He, too, has someone to introduce to the rest of the family. She is someone in the same class, but not of the same race. Another seed is planted.When the white, err…, Italian girlfriend Kimber arrives (Kayla Raelle Holder), the planting soil is starting to get a little crowded. We haven’t even gotten to the charming patriarch LeVay (David Alan Anderson). You know something is amiss because the matriarch isn’t present. There’s that seed, too.
But let’s come back to the young girl cleaning up and making sandwiches for all these folks playing board games, drinking themselves silly and arguing over who has a better understanding of class, race and structure. Her name is Cheryl (Ayanna Bria Bakari), and she is the maid’s daughter. And hers is the type of seed that grows the rottenest. She is the title stick fly—can’t really get away, even if she tried. And just to make sure no one ever forgets where we are, the tops of the sailing boats of the rich and powerful slowly bop in the distance, seen through the bay windows.
Stick Fly gets sticky with race, class, daddy issues and jealousy
Amidst the very funny banter, real life truths rear up. You don’t have to look too deep. They surface up in Lydia R. Diamond’s smart writing. They then linger in the air by Ron Oj Parson’s honest direction. You can catch them sneaking in between games of Scrabble, and buried in omitted obituary recognitions, in the lines of novels yet unpublished, and in profound long silences.
In these writers’ view, this ensemble immaculately captures the heart and souls of these characters. As an adult, one can easily relate to any of those characters, even if the profiles don't exactly match. You don’t have to be poor to have an absentee father, and you don’t have to be rich to worry about what others think of you. From a child’s perspective, adults spend too much energy on being different, and arguing about how that separation makes them superior in understanding the world’s problems. But none are infallible. We are all plagued by the same fears and anxieties. After seeing this play and as you weave your way around through the really nice homes in the Glencoe neighborhood where Writers Theater is nestled, you might wonder how the other half lives and if they, too, have sticky problems. Well, we are all just human, aren’t we?
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Title: Stick Fly
Written by: Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by: WT Resident Director Ron OJ Parson
David Alan Anderson (Joe LeVay), Ayanna Bria Bakari (Cheryl), Eric Gerard (Kent), DiMonte Henning (Flip), Kayla Raelle Holder (Kimber) and Jennifer Latimore (Taylor)
Linda Buchanan (Scenic Designer), Caitlin McLeod (Costume Designer), Claire Chrzan (Lighting Designer), Christopher M. LaPorte (Sound Designer), Dominique Nadeau (Dramaturg), Sam Hubbard (Fight Director), Tristin Hall (Intimacy Director), Monet Felton (Assistant Director), Rachel Lockett (Assistant Stage Manager), David Castellanos (Production Stage Manager)
Running through March 15, 2020
Tuesdays – Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm (except February 8) and 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm (except February 9, March 1 & 15)
The Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre
325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
About the Authors: Tonika Todorova and her son Jaxon DuFloth:
Tonika Todorova is a freelance writer and director that goes by the self imposed title of Adventure Architect. She experiences a lot of performance with her eight year old son, Jaxon, by her side, and his reflections on Chicago theatre offer a refreshingly new perspective for her, and hopefully, others. Jaxon practices autonomous learning and is proud to be an Albany Park Chicago Children's Choir singer.