Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review of Spark at Adventure Stage Chicago

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Spark. It was directed by Rives Collins and the play was by Tom Arvetis. It was about a girl named Pandora (Charlotte Mae Ellison) and she had never met her mother (Allison Latta Lashford). Pan had two friends Farren (Mykele Callicutt) and Jude (Danielle Davis) but she did not go to a regular school or have regular clothes or regular friends. She lived underground and school was about video games. And that video game was supposed to teach you about life. They have to do all the rules; they can't go against the rules at all. Amin (Mike Ooi), who is basically the president, wanted everything to be in order. There was no disorganization. There were no books! Not even graphic novels, which I thought was the worst thing. They got information from their "gear" or Amin, which was not the most trustworthy information. Pan is trying to reverse that and trying to make everyone go back up to the surface. It is about changing the rules, friendship, and finding your inner spark. I loved this show. I was so happy as I watched it. The concept I think worked perfectly with the play and I was very pleased with how this play ended up.

I liked their idea of school, except that it was all video games. All the people in the school, the friends and Miss K (Ebony Joy), who I think was my favorite character in this whole play, were very lovable. Miss K I think was my favorite because of how nice she was and how she respected her students' secrets. I knew that Pan was glad, when she gave them a short history lesson, because they usually did the same thing each day: life's in danger!--stuff like that. The history lesson was actual learning, not a video game. You could learn from video games, but you don't need to only learn how to survive. This history lesson tells what happened and what you can change. I liked Farren and Jude. I liked their relationship a lot because they were like such good friends but they yelled at each other a lot. Their relationship with Pan was that they thought she was crazy because she wanted to break all the rules, but they still loved her.

The government here was the creepiest government you have every seen in your creepy life. The creepy government consisted of Dr. Lowell (Michael Mercier) and Amin, who was mean. They wanted complete order everywhere but they still were evil. Being in order can be a good thing, but they were evil because they tricked people and brainwashed them. The gear was basically like everything you would need to be fine underground, but it was also basically a tracking device, which they used if you were going into a restricted area or breaking the rules; they would come get you and brainwash you and make you into a thug with a creepy mask on. I did enjoy the creepiness of Dr. Lowell and Amin. I think they did a good job of making me almost scream!

I thought that Pan's family seemed like a very nice family, but I felt sorry for her that she had never seen her mom and would probably never see her. Her father Drew (Drew Johnson) was a mole. Not literally a mole. Figuratively a mole. He worked underground as a construction worker, but he constructed underground so it was a little bit different that just a regular construction worker. It seemed like it was not a good job to have because that meant people thought he had no other talents whatsoever. But he could paint constellations on walls! Who could do that but him? You could see all the time that he misses his wife. The mom wants her daughter to go up and feel the sun and see the grass and step in mud and see the stars. She wants that because she herself got to see that for a little while and she wants her daughter to have that experience herself. She basically wants the same things that any mother would want for her child, which is a good life.

Cord (Kaelan Strouse) and Tico (Blake Russell) were best friends from above who each had something special about them. They were both Outliers, also known as outsiders or upsides. Tico didn't like to speak ever since his family died. So he did something kind of like sign language instead. Even though Tico didn't have any lines, except for one, he seemed like he was the hardest character to play because he had a bunch of sign language which I think would be very hard to learn. The sign language was helpful, also, because he had a translator: Cord. Cord also had something surprising about him: he had a pen. That didn't seem like the biggest surprise but it was one for Pan because she had never seen a pen in her life because they were outlawed before she was born. These characters are important because they basically made Pan realize what was wrong and what was right.

I thought that all the gear was pretty cool. I don't know if that was the costumes (Jessica K. Wardell) or the props (Kitty Campbell). I loved their hoods and vests; I thought they seemed very sci-fi. I thought it was cool how they projected the stuff that was on their gear. (Projection design by Liviu Pasare.) I liked how Amin was projected on there like he was their newscaster as well as their president basically. And also right after I saw it I saw a sign that said Safe Passage on the street and I was like "aaaaah!" If you go see the show, you'll figure out why I screamed like a crazy person. I thought the set (Simon Lashford) was awesome. It was a good set because it reminded me of being underground and sci-fi and I loved the flapping and techie-looking doors. And the tunnels I thought were also very awesome because they looked like actual tunnels.

People who would like this show are people who like awesome tunnels, sci-fi, and video games for school. People should go and see this show. It is very funny and at the same time you are also on the edge of your seat. I think this show should be for ages 6 and up because there are some things like mother's dying that some kids might not want to hear about. I think this is a very awesome show and I loved it!

Photos: Johnny Knight

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