Where: The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St.
When: Jan. 20 – Feb. 24.
By TONIA HILL
“Hyde Ya Kids, Hyde Ya Park,” a new sketch comedy will open to the public next Saturday at the Revival, 1160 E. 55th St.
The show is a montage of comedy sketches that remark on current events in the news and popular culture in the country and the Hyde Park community.
“We’re coming off the first year of President Donald Trump’s [administration], said Jonald Jude Reyes, director for Hyde Ya Kids, Hyde Ya Park. “I think we’ve been in this weird slumber of not wanting to accept what’s happening.”
Reyes added that he wants the show to bring “comedy and heartfelt scenes to surface to have people feel good again.”
In the first scene, the full cast gave a joyous musical interpretation of University of Chicago Graduate student workers securing the right to unionize. The catchy tune was carried by Angela “Anjee-O” Oliver’s powerful voice.
The ensemble cast throughout each sketch referred to people and places relative to Hyde Park such as The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave.
The cast also sought to highlight a local organization, SLAP’D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) at the start of the show. SLAP’D is based in Hyde Park and is an online space for teens who have lost a parent to find hope connection through shared experiences.
Of the more funnier sketches included was a sitcom based on former U.S. President Barack Obama’s former days as a law professor at the University of Chicago Law School in the early 1990s. The sketch was dated a few days before Obama was to wed Mrs. Obama. The sketch was filled with references late ‘90s era news and culture and 2017.
Another hilarious sketch was based in a barbershop with cast members Devin Middleton and Jordan Stafford who skillfully portrayed older African American men in barbershops. Their candor and one-liners kept the audience roaring with laughter.
More serious topics like race, gentrification, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, and sexual assault were broached in some of the sketches. The commentary and jokes were done carefully highlighting the different points of view from marginalized groups as a means to not only entertain but to also educate members of the audience.
There has been a shift, within the last few months, in every industry to address sexual harassment and assault. More women are coming forward to share their stories in the hopes that society will reexamine how we address sexual harassment and assault. The sketch dedicated to sexual harassment featured a funny yet thoughtful women’s rap rebuttal to male privilege.
The show was directed by Reyes with musical direction from David Redick and technical direction by Drew Cohen.
Overall, “HYDE YA KIDS, HYDE YA PARK” did an excellent job in introducing the more controversial issues that are dominating today’s news cycle and with thoughtfully placed humor within.
The show will open on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Revival and will run through Saturday, Feb. 24.