Directed by Kimberly Senior
At Theater Wit, Chicago
Cautionary tale of government gone awry both hilarious and scary.
What would ordinary Americans do if the U.S. government fell into tyranny? This is the theme of Jason Wells’ wonderfully structured show that is part apocalyptic comic satire, part police procedural, and part political drama.
The laughs first come from Tanya (Kate Buddeke) an A.D.D.-afflicted, motor-mouthed redneck women with a drinking problem. We meet Tanya as she is held in a cage on warrants in a rural Missouri police station. She talks non-stop to Shonda (Lucy Sandy) the administration aid assigned to watch er. Tanya’s rants over her life, her arrest, her ex, and her always being a victim of circumstance. Kate Buddeke’s comic turn is hilarious. Playwright Jason Wells skillfully blends satire with political intrigue here. it is a mashup between All The President’s Men and a Quentin Taratino film.
When Carlton (Kevin Stark) is detained in the cage next to Tanya, the comedy increases as the federal bureaucrat (Carlton) rants about a conspiracy that is behind the nationwide civil strife afflicting the nation. Carlton solicits Shonda or Tanya to help him get the word to a journalist about The North Plan – documenting the existence of a list of citizens marked for arrest under the guise of being traitors. The wackiness almost reached farcical levels here.
With split-second timing and a swift pace, director Kimberly Senior get us to both laugh and become scared during the 90 minute show. When DHS agents, Pitman (Tom Hickey) and his aid, Lee (Brian King) arrive to interrogate Carlton, the wildness ensues. At stake is the retrieval of Carlton’s laptop which contains evidence of The North Plan. This information could undermine the ruthless cabal currently taking over the U.S. government.
With clever plots twists and a few surprises, The North Plan is a fun ride in a dark comedy that is so preposterous that it could happen in today’s uncertain world. We see how ironic it is that ordinary American folks with their obsessions with guns could foil a right-wing conspiracy. The basic fairness of average folks prevails when government get too paranoid. Kate Buddeke is terrific as the wacky Tanya while Kevin Stark is most effective as the whistle blower. The North Plan is funny, scary, as well as a cautionary tale -and – it is wonderful theatre. That’s a winning combination.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: February 28, 2012
For more info checkout The North Plan page at theatreinchicago.com
At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-975-8150, www.theaterwit.org, tickets $18 – $36, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm, running time is 90 minutes with intermission, through April 1, 2012