Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review of Six Stories Tall at Adventure Stage Chicago

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Six Stories Tall by Marco Ramirez, and it was about, well, it was about a lot of things: mermaids, monsters, superheroes, devils and rapping, a house that made music, and a boy that painted a whole baseball stadium purple. It is called Six Stories Tall because it is about lots of different little short stories and there are six of them. I did not measure the theater to see if it was actually six-stories tall. But I did measure how tall the stories were--they were very exaggerated. Tall can mean a very unrealistic thing, like a tall tale. But it can also mean "Wow! Godzilla is so"--wait a second. That is a tall tale! And also Godzilla is enormous! Tall tales don't mean all of it is not true. Sometimes it can mean, oh, some of that is true. Like the Red Line monster in this play. Like you won't actually see a Red Line monster on a Red Line train. But you might encounter other things that could hurt you, for example: crooks, people that are trying to bother you, and the Joker (just kidding). Six Stories Tall is a play about imagination and real life mixed.

There was one sketch that was about a mermaid (Sarah Rose Graber) and a boy (Mark Anthony Gonzalez) that fell in love with the mermaid, but the thing is, he's not a mermaid, so he can't marry her. I really liked the costume for the mermaid. I thought it was very pretty, and if there were mermaids it would be realistic. There were lots of acrobatics--like doing very long handstands in this case, so then everybody could see her tail. I thought that the play would have been a little bit better if the boy hadn't so been so thankful; being thankful is better than being greedy, but if you are in a town that is starving you should ask for things because you'll die if you don't ask for things.

This next story was about a boy that was a slave (Alexander Knapp) that lived in the bottom of a house, and he and a little girl (Alyssa Vera Ramos) who lived upstairs invented music. The way that people spoke was gibberish, but if you were a slave from Africa you wouldn't really understand what the American people were saying so it just sounds like gibberish. He understood music and pointing, when people pointed at stuff. It told us that music can be made any place; even if sadness is going around, music can help. I thought it was really beautiful that, at the end, the narrator (Danielle Davis) that was telling the story said, "The only thing he does not remember is me" because she used to be the little girl that was upstairs and making music. Or maybe she is his mother.

One of the other sketches was about a boy named Chester (Lance Newton) whose grandfather (Mark Anthony Gonzalez) was losing his eyesight while he was over and they were eating breakfast, which was Froot Loops. Then the grandfather said, "Why aren't they making red, orange, yellow, and green anymore?" because the only color he could see anymore was purple. I think that his problem is that he ate too many Froot Loops because Froot Loops are very bad for you. I thought it was very nice that Chester would paint a baseball stadium purple for his grandfather so he could see the baseball game. I saw a lot of kids liking how the remote control and the cap came out of the paint cans purple, but I could see that he was switching the cap and the remote from a different tin of paint. I would suggest that they put them in the same tin because then it seems more like it is actually happening.

One of my favorite tales was the story about the Devil (Mark Anthony Gonzalez) taking away this little girl Rebecca's (Danielle Davis) father and she wanted him back. I was angry that the father would be so stupid as to say yes to a singing contest with the devil if he had a daughter. But, when the Devil came back again, she did a rap contest with him. They were both very talented at rapping, but Rebecca had this amazing voice for rapping and singing too. They would sing and they always did solos; they didn't rap at the same time. I found when Rebecca was doing the rapping very touching because she was doing it for her father. It was cool when the Devil was like, "I'm ready," and he was
standing in this jacket and Rebecca who was in this long girly skirt, she turned around to one of the villagers, and she took off her skirt, and there were these shiny silver pants under the skirt. So she looked much more like a rapper than he did. I also liked when Rebecca went over to the DJ (Mikhail Fiksel) who did the sound and she was like, put on some rap music, and he put on some music and she started rapping. I liked having the DJ there interacting with the people on stage. I really liked how at the end Rebecca grabbed the Devil's hat off and just started rapping in his face. It was funny but also terrifying. I thought, "Is he just going to do that creepy jacket thing to her?" I don't want to give away the ending because this is one of the most exciting parts of the play.

Another one of my favorites was this one about Batman. It wasn't exactly about Batman; it was more about this kid (Lance Newton) who loved Batman and pretended to be Batman. I really liked when the kid said "Batman really doesn't like guns because his parents were shot on Christmas." I thought it was touching and also funny because he talked about it like it was real, even though it is totally not real. And I thought it was also kind of cute. He was not actually Batman, but there was one real thing; he did actually know a drunk janitor and the drunk janitor happened to be his father. He is pretending to be Batman because he wants to be powerful and he wants to make his dad stop doing this thing that is hurting him. There was also this fun part where whenever he fought somebody he would do these crazy daredevil moves. And also another fun part was that there was this live drummer (Kevin Brown) and he played for basically the entire scene. It made you feel like you were actually watching a Batman movie.

My favorite scene was "The Red Line Monster." It was about an 11-year-old girl (Alyssa Vera Ramos) who was riding the Red Line. She did this a lot home from school. She was playing a ninja video game and she was trying to beat a guy. They got actors to play the ninjas because then you could see what she's playing in the video game. And when she finally knew what buttons to press her phone was getting low on battery. I really liked how the Red Line monster was made up of people stacked on top of each other. I liked it because it was intense because I was afraid that everybody would have a broken back. I thought it looked cool. My other favorite part was when this girl (Danielle Davis) talked like Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time (the best show in the world) and she was saying "Like my belly is NOT fat" and she was totally going off subject about how her belly was not fat. I thought that was really funny because she had this weird voice and she was talking about her belly when she was supposed to be talking about the Red Line Monster.

People that would like this show are people who like mermaids, monsters, and rapping contests. People should go see this because it is really funny and very touching too. I think it is a good show for the whole family.

Photos: Johnny Knight

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