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BWW Review: RED BIKE at Teatro Paraguas (Online)


BWW Review: RED BIKE at Teatro Paraguas (Online) Innovative theatre makers across the country have risen to the challenge of creating safe art in the time of COVID - often via Zoom, Twitch, or other conferencing/streaming platforms. Red Bike, directed by Juliet Salazar and presented by Teatro Paraguas, took a different, and decidedly more cinematic route, resulting in a highly engrossing piece of socially distanced theatre.

Actors were individually, and safely, filmed in this production of a monologue that depicts an often forgotten portion of Americana - economically depressed small town and rural settings, seen here through the eyes of an eleven-year-old - creating a fascinating and impactful production that is currently available to view on Vimeo.

The text of Red Bike (by playwright/songwriter/translator/editor/educator Caridad Svich) has been masterfully divided between the ten actors (Paraguas favorites Roxanne Tapia, Alix Hudson, JoJo Sena de Tarnoff, Jenifer Nelson, Paola Martini, Cristina Vigil, Jonathan Harrell, Niko'a Salas, Froggy Fernandez, and Argos MacCallum are featured here), moving the story briskly and effectively. There isn't a weak link in the entire ensemble, and each actor masters the perspective and persona of the eleven year old speaker, all creating authentic, earnest, youthful energy without ever seeming forced.

The cinematography ("Steven Nenni served as a co-producer and camera operator", per the Teatro Paraguas website) serves the story well, and it, in combination with the inventive direction and staging, creates great visual interest, avoiding the common pitfall of virtual theatre being just a little too static. The original music by Jojo Sena-Tarnoff and Phredgeoff Tarnoff is generally very effectual as well.

As for the content of the piece, as someone who grew up in a podunk little town (not dissimilar to the setting of this piece) in southeastern Kansas, I found it true to life and unfortunately continually relevant, particularly given the present state of the American economy. The desperation caused by limited economic opportunities and the struggles of adults to make ends meet provides a recurring theme throughout the play, seen through the astute observations of the eleven year old speaker (kids always notice more than they let on, don't they?).

Red Bike is perfectly on brand for Teatro Paraguas, and - in addition to being quality pandemic entertainment - was a refreshing look back at a facet of the wonderfully talented theatre community in Santa Fe, as well as a reminder of what will eventually come again.

Red Bike is available on Vimeo until July 30th. Visit for more information about how to access it; a $10 donation is suggested.

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