note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Will Stackman
An appreciation of "The Red Brick Line"
Rough & Tumble Theatre's latest eccentric effort was part of the Institute of Contemporary Art's Vita Brevis Project "A(long) Freedom". For the last three Saturday's members of the company performed a street comedy along the Freedom Trail, from the Shaw Memorial to the Old South Meeting House. The plot was simple, George, that is George Saulnier III, this time called "Charlie" (of MTA fame?) is discovered sleeping on the Common--in a bed. He's woken by Kristin Baker playing a carhop on roller skates. Sean & Tim Barney, the tourguides for this traveling show--lines by William Donnelly--promise Charlie breakfast, but he must follow it down the Red Brick Line, which he must stay on, which he does, sort of.. Charlie and the audience set off down the Common following Kristin on her skates towards the Park Street Plaza and its myriad activities.
Last Sunday there was a large peace demonstration competing for attention with a Wellness Fair set up on the lawn just behind the T Station. The next major stops were the Park St. Burial Ground and shortly the sidewalk across from King's Chapel. Charlie wasn't being too cooperative, hunger seemed to be affecting his mind, but he got into line when the Barney's threatened to replace him with Tori Low, the fifth cast member. The tour then progressed to the plaza of Old City Hall, where Charlie begins to turn the tables on his tormentors. But he was driven on by hunger.
The show marched to its final setting, the triangle in front of Borders next to the Old Globe Bookstore across from Old South. Charlie chased his breakfast around the area, then made off with the script. The tourguides set off after him. While they were searching, he returned. He and Tori, who's been lurking about, produced a typewriter from the plantings and changed the end of the script. Charlie finally got his breakfast when the duo returned to finish the show.
As the program put it; "At no point in this tour or at its end will you learn anything. While this is "public art", it's not meant to be good for you." Once again, Rough & Tumble's simple goal--Theatre that doesn't suck--came through because a good time WAS had by the group which followed them along this section of the Freedom Trail last Saturday. Let's hope their next effort at the BCA in December is as much fun. Dan Milstein will probably provide direction as above, Bonnie Duncan's thrift store costuming marvels will again be on display, and the usual suspects will be seen.