Sheri is a baser, which is arguably the most important job when in the sandwich-making business – she is the person that introduces the sandwich to a customer. Sheri got cold sleeping in her car one night, so she decided to sleep at the sandwich shop so she wouldn’t have to move much to get to work the next morning. Sheri “woke up” to a talking sandwich that was “eating her fears,” and that is when Sheri saw life in a completely different light.
“American Hero,” a play about the opening of a sandwich shop and how four uniquely crazy characters keep it alive and running, made its debut at the Den Theater in Wicker Park and it was, quite literally, about sandwiches. However, what made this play so intriguing was the subtext of the script – what we weren’t being told but should have caught on to. This play was targeted towards the millennial generation that don’t pay attention to what is happening in the world and need to open their eyes. “This play is so wacky, a great break from reality where we can actually laugh about how badly humans treat each other,” says Lacy Yonkers, a twenty-something audience member that was at the show.
“American Hero is a show that you really have to pay attention to to catch the underlying messages,” says Brian McKnight, an actor in the show that plays four different people. “It may seem like a show about sandwiches, but it’s much more complex.” When the sandwich in Sheri’s dream is telling her that he’s eating her fear, he is basically saying that she should never give up on her dream. The play had underlying themes of respect, independence, privilege, fear, hope… The list goes on.
I caught myself in an eye-opening experience watching the show. The four characters were so different and at first I started to judge their actions, like when one of them looked like they had a rough night of partying and kept chewing her gum obnoxiously. Then, once I found out more about their stories, I realized I needed to stop judging people before I got to know them.
Lacy recalls after the show, “I never thought a sandwich would make me laugh, but here I am, laughing at a sandwich. I mean, when they started dancing together, I died.” “American Hero” is playing in Stage B, a theater with seating for a maximum of about 48 people. The set is small and in the center of the seating, with no barrier between the audience and the actors.
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