Fear of a bike planet


Ten Speed Revolution


Written by John Heimbuch

Directed by Nathan Lemoine

A Direct Current and Walking Shadow Theater Company Production (www.10speedrevolution.com)

Midtown International Theatre Festival (www.midtownfestival.org)

Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, 312 West 36th St., 1st floor

Non-union (through August 3, 2008)

Review by Michael D. Jackson


A collaboration between two groups, Direct Current and Walking Shadow, John Heimbuch’s play is a political-meets-absurdist piece lambasting corporate homogenization. A threesome of roommates who share one ten speed bike find that it has been stolen. The threesome refer to themselves as a collective––collectively living together and searching for the stolen bike when the police can’t or won’t help find it. Together they plot an over the top plan to create a world in which the city of Minneapolis provides free bike access for all. In doing so, the collective finds that they are even less free of homogenization than they were while sharing the one bike. Heimbuch’s point is made early on and the murky middle of his comedy grows tiresome, but the real worth of the production is Nathan Lemoine’s creative direction.


Using odds and ends and junkyard findings, the ensemble of four wear street clothes, harnesses, back packs, toy sirens and police megaphones and a variety of other useful tools that all come out of a trunk to serve the needs of the story. Clip lights and flashlights are used rather than traditional theatrical lighting. The production is a do-it-yourself, make-theatre-out-of-anything, anywhere, kind of patchwork that reminds us that it doesn’t take a falling chandelier to make theatre magic come to life. The actors, which include the director in supporting roles, are superb. Alexander Demers is Jake, a little spitfire of a guy with wild hair and seemingly unharnessed energy, yet he gives a focused and vibrant performance. Jordon Kamp as Max brings a relaxed energy to his humble character that balances Demers’s high voltage. Bonnie Sherman as Anna is somewhere in the middle pushing and pulling the two boys to keep them on track of the collective mission. The three of them are a wonderfully entertaining team.


The play is zany, even ridiculous and its message isn’t exactly enlightening, nor does one walk away with a sense of purpose to solve any problems, which is the usual aim of political theatre. As a comedy, it is less structured than a Marx Brothers routine and not nearly as funny as it is busy and energetic. However, this group is on to something and may even truly find a great piece of theatre if they only had the time to experiment with their ideas and hone the little play before audiences until it becomes really crisp and pointed. If none of these things are part of the group’s goals, they are at least having a heck of a creative good time.



Box Score:


Writing: 1

Directing: 2

Acting: 2

Sets: 2

Costumes: 1

Lighting/Sound: 1


Copyright 2008 by Michael D. Jackson


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