Review by Jenifer Moore of “Red Bike”: Know Theatre
“Red Bike”, by playwright Caridad Svich, is a soul-evoking magical journey of commiserating over life’s choices and responses to its circumstances at the onset of its opening. While the title of the play leads you to believe that you are seeing a story related to Cincinnati’s own public bicycle sharing system, you are wrong.
Directed by Holly L. Deer, the seventy-minute production is a part of the Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s 21st season exploring the concept of Fear Itself and how one can succumb or overcome it.
One should take a breath as the protagonists A and M explore their futures through child and adult eyes and the makings of success. The exhilaration of riding a bike, in this case red, and sharing your future dreams with a childhood pal fuels the majority of the play while opening a window to see how a parent’s own deferred dreams can change the course of ones lives forever.
Cast members Maliyah Gramata-Jones and Montez O. Jenkins-Copeland combine grace, skill, wittiness and soul to bring the ideals of a tale of two cities to the forefront–the haves and the have nots and old days versus new day–that moves audience members to think about their own life choices and determine if they can accomplish their dreams or settle for something more practical. The fact that they are African-American puts another spin on what it means to “make it”, forcing audience members to explore the concept of success through a myriad of cultural lenses. The choice of Noelle Wedig-Johnston and Rebecca Armstrong choice to streamline the set with costumes that are authentic and fresh show that checks (Nike) and stripes (Adidas) can coexist in one uniform, while nearly 40 boxes on a barren black canvas allow audience members to focus solely on the dynamic performance that is offered by Jones and Jenkins-Copeland.
“Red Bike” brings home the point that life is hard, and it is very difficult to say how one’s life will turn out from a child’s age. Choices that people make and circumstances beyond their control can dictate the course of any journey. Yet, “Red Bike” reminds the audience that while there are twists and turns to life and it can come with its own fears, it is to be lived. You may fall off said bike, not once but many times, but you should always get back up and ride again. “Red Bike” proves that while dreams can be deferred, you should never stop believing in them. And even if you do fall off the bike, you can always get back up and ride again.
Red Bike is currently showing at the Know Theatre on its Mainstage until Feb. 2, 2019. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (513) 300-5669 or during the hours of 11am – 5pm Tuesday through Friday and one hour before showtime on show days.