Internet theater critic Sheri O. Roland must’ve believed she was watching a play when she reviewed the 8/24/21 Bolingbrook Village Board meeting. She wrote:
“This is not a production worth dying for. If you have to catch COVID, catch it by attending a Nickelback cover band concert. It will be more entertaining.”
According to the review, Roland believed she was reviewing a play called “Positively Charged” staged by the Performance Art League of Bolingbrook. The League isn’t a theater company but instead is an anonymous group of performance artists that “reappropriates” mundane events in Bolingbrook. They infamously “reappropriated” the 6/9/09 and the 4/25/17 board meetings into the play, “Village of the Bored.” Their last performance was “Restaurants Matter More Than You” in 2020 which was staged in a Bolingbrook restaurant that violated the pandemic indoor dining ban.
During the 8/24/21 meeting, the Village Board announced the winners of 2021’s Bolingbrook’s Citizens of the Year awards and honored the retiring owners of Family Square Restaurant. In her review, Roland described the announcements as “wasted plot points.”
“We have a woman who overcomes paralysis to become an advocate for LGTQ+ residents. We have a photographer with fearless children. We have two guys who traveled all the way from Greece to serve cream of chicken soup to the suburbs. Each story could have been a separate play. Instead, we’re treated to bland narration, and the characters themselves are hardly speaking. The Greek characters had the stage stolen from them by the Mayor Emeritus character. I’m sorry, but there’s no such thing as a ‘Mayor Emeritus.’ Did the writer not know the difference between a mayor and a professor?”
Roland described Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta’s “performance” as “competent, but uninspiring.” She also described Trustee Michael Lawler as “playing a role that started out as comic relief but was rewritten at the last minute—Which was too bad, because this play could have used some comic relief. The background characters should be cut because they don’t advance the plot at all.”
The ending, according to Roland, “fell apart,” and never recovered:
“Here we get the reading of invoices and rules that are never debated. I thought we would finally see some drama when a letter accusing the main characters of poisoning Bolingbrook surfaced. Instead, that’s laughed off. The bit about Bolingbrook losing power could have been an exciting twist. Instead, it’s a line that should have been thrown away along with the rest of the script.”
She concludes her review by writing: “I can’t tell if this play is a depiction of an authoritarian dystopia or a piece of anti-democratic propaganda that denies debate and tries to inject the audience with a lethal dose of reckless positivity. Either way, it doesn’t work. I appreciate a suburb attempting to stage an original theatrical production during a deadly pandemic. Sadly, in the end, it’s just like watching a cover band concert. It tastes good, but the experience just doesn’t satisfy you like the original band’s performance would. The only good thing about this production is the immersive sets. Sometimes I really thought I was in a government building.”
Roland refused to be interviewed for this story.
When asked to comment, Alexander-Basta replied: “The critics said I would be Roger’s puppet and lose reelection. Well—”
In the background, a man who sounded like Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar said: “Hurry up! WeatherTech wants to talk to us about building ten new helicopter pads by their factory.”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” replied Alexander-Basta. “Now if I were a puppet, I wouldn’t have told our Mayor Emeritus to wait a minute. Checkmate, foes of Bolingbrook!”
Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer. Feel free to leave a comment here or in the Bolingbrook Babbler Readers Group.