"Sixty Miles to Silver Lake" (Collaboraction Theatre): Drives Ritualism and Realism Home

#95.  In my family, women excel at communicating.  We are the topic starters, question askers, and noise makers.  Without us, the men might sit in silence.  I try to imagine just my dad and one of my nephews on a road trip.  Would they talk?  Would they eventually fall into meaningful conversations?  How far does it take to get there?

Collaboraction presents the Chicago premiere of SIXTY MILES TO SILVER LAKE.  Denny’s parents are divorced.  His dad bought a place at Silver Lake.  Now, Denny weekly commutes to his new part-time home.  It’s father-son bonding time!  Soccer, music, burgers, mom, girls, sex, dad asks the questions to try to get the answers to how to connect with his kid.  SIXTY MILES TO SILVER LAKE is a little awkward, a little surreal and a lot interconnected.

Playwright Dan LeFranc starts the motor like any road trip, stilted small talk.  Initially, repetitive questions seem to be over-the-top ordinary.  Then the realization hits, LeFranc is playing with times.  He shifts in reverse, fast forwards and idles over moments in these guys’ lives. Under the direction of Sarah Moeller, the banter is natural.  The characters are genuine. They struggle to build a relationship from the remnants of their broken family.  Sometimes, the emotions accelerate from casual to tense in moments.  Sometimes, it just stalls out. Ethan Dubin (Denny) and Sean Bolger (dad) go the distance in the father-son vehicle.  Dubin is a perfectly fidgeting, squirrelly teenager.  He’s drawing on the window, taking off his grubby shin pads, and squirming in his seat.  Bolger is a stiff, coffee-sipping, slightly inappropriate male role model.  A manipulative Bolger tries to worm info on his ex-wife out of his son. This isn’t a father-son on a television sitcom.  It’s a father-son in real life.  There are human errors and later human efforts to be a better person.                       

LeFranc keeps me guessing on the true destination of this ride.  I’m not certain that everything I saw or heard actually happened.  Or was it just how the father-son wished life would play out?  SIXTY MILES TO SILVER LAKE drives  ritualism and realism home.    

Running Time:  Eighty minutes with no intermission

At the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee 

Written by Dan LeFranc

Directed by Sarah Moeller

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 7pm 

Thru May 27th 

Buy Tickets at www.collaboraction.org

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