Sunday, January 26, 2020

The World According To Eleven Year Old’s In Moxie’s “Red Bike”


Just recently I spent the day with my eleven -year old stuffy nosed grandson while his mother’s were at work. Our conversations ranged from building a program for one of his Internet ‘games’ to what he was currently reading to “How old was I when I got married/ had his mother/ lived in my house, and was Donald Trump responsible for the way they treat the Blacks in the South”?

He’s studying the Civil War in History at school and is old enough to know about our current president.

Hey, I’m just his octogenarian grandmother.  But it gave me some insight to the mind of an eleven year old and what matters to him.  And what matters to him. he who is acutely aware of the social injustices in the world and the haves and have not’s of the world that he has drawings and essays on the walls in his home about just that.
Nancy Ross and Timothy L. Cabal
So it wasn’t surprising that some of the ‘stuff’ that character’s ‘A’ -Timothy L. Cabal and ‘M’ - Nancy Ross, the adults playing an eleven-year old in Playwright, Obie Winner, songwriter/lyricist, Caridad Svich’s San Diego West Coast Premiere “Red Bike” at Moxie Theatre through Feb. 16th.  , that brought me back to an old TV Show -“Kids Say The Darndest Things.”

But this kid is not saying the darndest things. Looking at the world and the decaying community/low wage -earning parents, the old bus driver who will one-day die on the job, this youngster is looking through a different lens than those who are living the American Dream.

The eleven year old in Svich’s play is encouraged by  parents to ‘go out and ride  bikes.  Wiser than most adults, see their American Dream passing by. Before during and in between the fifty or so frames or chapters that ‘shift …in the plays universe’ do we we get a glimpse into the parent’s thinking as told by their offspring.
Timothy L. Cabal and Nancy Ross
They talk about their bills, the world, the town, the water supply, the ‘invisible things like stocks and derivatives and securities and big money buying up property, destroying farm land and covering it in cement for more building, what they eat for breakfast and moving all the boxes in the big warehouse the father works in.

Most of these conversations are repeated in refrain traveling the byways and back country roads on an exciting and exhilarating bike ride that pulls us into the conversations from the moment the first image of a bike is drawn on the ground with colored chalk.

The production, a ninety minute coming of age drama, while not interactive had me feeling as though I was right in the moment with ‘A’ and ‘M’ riding up and over the hilly byways and ramps, sliding down poles, mading animal characters out of wrapping paper and bikes out of expandable poles. (Aldondra Velez.)  

Imagining a down hill plunge with horror, and the right amount of angst, vulnerability can be seen with wide eyed fear for almost losing control of of the bike; a bike that came speeding by us going “thirty billion seconds a minute.” 

A metaphor for life as seen through the eyes of youngsters?
Timothy L. Cabal and Nancy Ross
The reality of things out of control is a reoccurring theme; loss of community, a growing divide in the have’s and have-not’s, envy, out of touch parents and the dying population that will eventually create a ghost town in this the first of seven play-cycle called “American Psalm.”


Teacher, professor, director Lisa Berger ((“The Car Plays” as part of the WOW Festival, Paula Vogel’s “The Long Christmas Ride Home” at Diversionary) brings with her her speciality, that of being creative and daring. We  ride the highways, hills and valley's with her along with the pending danger as seen through her two, bordering on adolescence, eleven year olds; excellent actors they, who shall remain ageless in the mind of yours truly wishing (she) could move half as well.   

Both Burger and Movement Consultant Jeffery Ingman give credit that ‘85% of’ the movement…was developed by the actors themselves through improvisation.’ Once again, no small fete, as the movement in the moment might take off in different directions at any performance.

Cabal and Ross are splendid in creating a character with dreams and desires, imagination and finally ready to move on. 

“Even though I know I’m just a kid

And by the time I’m twelve
 My dreams are hella gonna change

And by the time I’m the same age as Ol’ Guy
If I get there
 I’ll have seen so much of the world

I’ll wonder how it is one can hold all of that inside 

Without making some serious NOISE."
Special shout out to costume designer Brooke Kesler, lighting designer Ashley Bietz, sound Matt Lescauld-Woodand and the entire creative team and of course the entire Moxie's  for bringing “Red Bike”, an uplifting commentary on the world according an eleven-year old going on twelve, to San Diego.

Be a part of the magic and enjoy the ride!

See you at the theatre.


Dates: Through Feb. 16th
Organization: Moxie Theatre
Phone: 858-598-7620
Production Type: Comedy
Where: 6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N, San Diego, CA 92115
Ticket Prices: Stare at $33.00
Web: moxietheatre.com
Photo Credit: Daren Scott


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