Review: Broken Fences (16th Street Theater)

| September 28, 2013
Scott Allen Luke and Kirsten D'Aurelio in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)        
       
Broken Fences 

Written by Steven Simoncic  
Co-Directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan
at 16th Street Theater, Berwyn (map)
thru Date  |  tickets: $18   |  more info
       
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Talented ensemble create riveting tale of home and identity

     

Kirsten D'Aurelio, Scott Allen Luke, Krenee' Tolson and Daniel Bryantin "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)

    
16th Street Theater presents
    
Broken Fences

Review by Katy Walsh 

With 16th Street Theater’s production of Broken Fences. three artistic directors – Ann Filmer (16th Street), Ilesa Duncan (Pegasus Players), and Daniel Bryant (Congo Square) – have united for this multi-layered look at a neighborhood’s footprint in the past, present and future.

Playwright Steven Simoncic’s tale of gentrification is mind-broadening. It starts out familiar. A white couple moves next door to a black couple. After that introduction, Simoncic spins us around to see these homes from every possible angle. The evolving story is riveting. His characters are authentic. His dialogue is natural. The banter is over the fence ‘getting to know you’ awkward and casual. There is plenty of humor within the drama. A boot camp scene between a hustler (Eric Lynch) and a Shaumburg couple (Bradford R. Lund and Tasha Anne James) is especially hysterical.

Despite the light touches, this play is about the profundity of defining home. On a broad level, Simoncic delves deep into economic clashes rooted in class, race and pride. On an intimate level, each character delivers a soulful soliloquy about their struggle to be visible. In one scene transition, Krenee A. Tolson (D) goes from head-snapping, ‘hell no!’ female black pride to vulnerable, lost, innocent girl. Knowing the woman her character becomes, Tolson’s monologue is both disturbing and inspiring.

Krenee Tolson and Daniel Bryant in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi) Daniel Bryant, Ryan Czerwonko, Scott Allen Luke and Kirsten D'Aurelio in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)
Kirsten D'Aurelio, Scott Allen Luke and Bradford R. Lund in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi) Eric Lynch and Daniel Bryant star in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)
Eric Lynch, Bradford R. Lund and Tasha Anne James in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi) Kirsten D'Aurelio and Tasha Anne James star in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)

Under the co-direction of Filmer and Duncan, this talented ensemble portrays the true humanity behind redevelopment. Bryant (Hoodie) is a standout. He is coarse and gentle simultaneously. Bryant effectively exposes his conflict. He is a cape crusader trapped in the life of a Jiffy Lube guy. The chemistry between him and Tolson is palpable. Their established relationship is enviable.

Everything comes together in Broken Fences for a homespun tale about identity. Scenic Designer Dustin Pettegrew builds the visual division. Pettegrew has two framed-out houses: a yuppie, whimsical one and the other worn and shabby. And, in-between, he places a chain-link fence. Upon arrival, we’re immediately aware of the physical differences of the homes. When the show starts, it’s the emotional similarities of the homes that captivate.

Broken Fences illustrates perfectly the downside of progress. It left me feeling on-the-fence about gentrification.

  
Rating: ★★★★
  
   

Broken Fences continues through October 26th at 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th Street, Berwyn (map), with performances Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays 5pm and 8:30pm.  Tickets are $18, and are available by phone (708-795-6704) or online through PrintTixUSA.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at 16thStreetTheater.org(Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes, includes an intermission)

16th Street Theater, Pegasus Players and Congo Square Theatre present "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)

Photos by Anthony Aicardi


     

artists

cast

Daniel Bryant (Hoody), Ryan Czerwonko (Esto), Kirsten D’Aurelio (April), Tasha Anne James (Barb), Scott Allen Luke (Czar), Bradford Lund (Spence), Eric Lynch (Marz), Krenee A. Tolson, Amy Dunlap (Understudy)

behind the scenes

Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan (co-directors), Barry Bennett (sound), Jesse Gaffney (props), Samantha C. Jones (costumes), Dustin Pettegrew (scenic) Mac Vaughey (lighting), Wendye Clarendon (stage manager), Anthony Aicardi (photos)

Bradford R. Lund, Tasha Anne, Krenee' Alisha Tolson and Daniel Bryant star in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)

Scott Allen Luke, Eric Lynch, Krenee' Alisha Tolson and Ryan Czerwonko star in "Broken Fences" by Steven Simoncic, directed by Ann Filmer and Ilesa Duncan. (photo credit: Anthony Aicardi)

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Category: 16th Street Theater, 2013 Reviews, Congo Square, Katy Walsh, Pegasus Theatre Chicago

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