Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy
True Colors Theatre
through March 19, 2017

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company is so spot-on in these days of reform and resistance in the management of education in our land.  Ike Holter wrote this play about a school in a run-down area of Chicago that was to be closed down at the end of the term.

Maybe the south side of Chicago has some problems; but could it not be right here in our town?  The story line deals with people trying to help educate students with less than the usual drive or assets, and with facilities that aren’t state of the art for education.

We start off meeting a teacher, Pam (Tess Malis Kincaid), who is having a face-off with the Principal, a wimp named Ricky (Matthew Busch).   Ricky has no set plan of action.  Meanwhile the local government guys have one, and it includes demolition of the dump school.  Pam is very stressed out and makes a difficult decision in the opening scene.

The school staff seems split as to how, or why, to react.  Arnold (William S.  Murphey) seems quite content to just accept what may come forth and go forth into retirement.  Diany Rodriguez plays the extremely energetic Jania, and Tracey N. Bonner and Ralph Del Rosario are other staff members.  Things start to come together when Ricky teams up with a student named Donny (Lau’rie Roach) who knows the streets and his ’hood, and together they strive to unite the community and stop the destruction of the school; even though he’s not quite ready to be graduated based on his work to date.

It is a story that anybody who has seen some of the news these past couple of months, has to relate to.  After all, it was a few years ago that our State’s schools ranked even below those of Mississippi and Alabama.   And while it is true that Chicago isn’t the same as Highland Park, and some of our burbs south of the I-20 don’t have as many McMansions as some on the north side; do we not all want that every young person have an opportunity for good education and training to perform and prosper in life?   Vouchers don’t see to be the best answer to many of us.  Maybe a national curriculum would do better, so that students might learn some basics such as when the war of 1812 was fought, or the names of some capitols in South America or the EU.

A fine cast, on a typically fine set by the sisters Curley-Clay, and under the direction of John Dillon; this one-act 105 minute opus, yells out to each of us.  Yes, there may be expletives; but WTF, that’s life in these days.  While it is arguable as to whom the quote should be attributed, it is often said that people get the government they deserve.  Let’s hope so in our case.  More info and tickets at TrueColorsTheatre.org