Reviewed by Opal Freeman from Windy City Reviews
Urban Removal: Westside Chicago is an excellent play written about the facts and figures of Westside Chicago. Using a historical platform, John Robert Bland creatively connects the elements of Chicago’s history, people, events, music, and education into an engaging and fun experience. The succession of each scene in the play captures the reader’s attention and embraces the views and values of long-time residents as they share individual life experiences of the neighborhood and surrounding communities.
Bland’s five characters are a unique blend of people who respect and admire each other a great deal. Their daily meeting place, a local bus shelter, provides an environment where the characters are able to have an open forum about any and every subject. The various conversations are filled with passion and pride, and they provide the reader a non-traditional education of the community where the characters live. In discussing the economic, demographic, and financial challenges of their neighborhood, this group of characters is able to provide solutions to matters that touch their hearts and sustain themselves with a spirit of survival.
John Robert Bland has written a play that allows the reader and audience to not only reflect on decades of the rise and fall of Westside Chicago, but he also confirms, through the creation of the play, the existence of humankind and community spirit. Thanks for the history. I really enjoyed the play.
See previous posting for more about: Urban Removal