Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review of First Floor Theater's American Hero

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called American Hero. It was by Bess Wohl and it was directed by Cody Estle. It was about a sandwich shop and there were three employees, Jamie (Annie Prichard), Ted (Chris Daley), and Sheri (SaraĆ­ Rodriguez), and it was about each of their individual lives. Sheri is trying to take care of her sick dad. Ted wants to be able to get a better job higher up in the corporation than just a sandwich finisher after losing his job at Bank of America. Jamie had kids and was in a custody battle with her ex-husband. Bob (Brian McKnight) owns the franchise and eventually decides to run off into the sunset without a word leaving his employees to fend for themselves. It is about developing friendships, falling on rough times, and trying to give people what they want. I think this show was a lot of fun. It had a lot of funny and touching moments. I really liked it.

I really loved the set by Jeffrey D. Kmiec. It looked so realistic; it transported me to a sub shop in a mall in the middle of nowhere. It even smelled like pickles to me. The billboard they had on the window was so cheesy and the whole restaurant was red and blue, which I personally think are not the most flattering colors for a restaurant, which added to the atmosphere more. It was kind of like an even more depressing Subway and that was appropriate! The costumes (Sarah Jo White) also really added to the atmosphere because the uniforms did really remind you of every sub shop you've ever been to. The uniforms for the sub shop really showed that all of these people were all being de-personalized by the corporation. But you also see them in their street clothes, which showed more of their personalities. Ted was very put-together and businesslike. It almost seemed like he still thought he was working at a bank. You see by Sheri's clothes how hard of a worker she is and also how tired she is because she is always wearing a sweatshirt and stretch pants. And Jamie is very put-together, but not businesslike like Ted, but more to call attention to herself.

The first scene was a job interview between Bob and Sheri. Bob was basically asking her a few question and then had her fill out a job application. He looked at it for like two seconds and said, "You're hired!" I found this funny because his standards were so low for people to work at his sandwich shop that he didn't even care what was on her job application. And she didn't seem to care at all about even really seeming interested in the job, which I found funny. I really liked the scene where they were all learning what they had to do as their part of the job. They had to make a sandwich in twenty seconds flat. And it was so anxiety-provoking and hilarious at the same time. Jamie wouldn't even fully wrap the sandwiches, but Ted would very meticulously choose his meats like this was a walk in the park and not a vital situation. And Sheri had the easiest job and just squirted mustard on the bread with a glare on her face. And Bob would ask her questions and she wouldn't know the full answer so she would just say one thing and trail off, and that was hilarious. I think probably the strangest scene I have seen in the whole history of scenes was when a giant, floaty, fear-eating sandwich (Brian McKnight) came to the sandwich shop in the middle of the night to tell Sheri she must save the sandwich shop by making her own sandwiches. It was a super hilarious scene and also just so weird.

These characters are not the most likable characters the first time you meet them. But as the play goes on, you do really come to love them. The audience learns more things about the characters in every scene. What you learn explains why the characters make the decisions they make. They were all such quirky characters, and none of them were in a good place, so they made bad decisions, but the bad decisions made them seem more human. As a result, you get to see them grow more throughout the entire play which makes you have a closer relationship to the characters. I'm not saying anything more specific because a lot of the nice things they do for each other are huge spoilers. So, you'll have to go and see the show!

People who would like this show are people who like the smell of pickles, slowly choosing meats, and fear-eating sandwiches. I think people should go see this show. I think this is a super fun show. I really enjoyed it!

Photos: Ian McLaren

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