Here are 5 reasons that I think everyone should see Renegade’s The North Plan by Jason Wells:
- 5. This is the last show before RTE goes on a brief hiatus to recharge. Show your support for this award winning company and send them off with a sold out production!
- 4. I know, I know, you hear the words dark political comedy and a roaring good time is not what comes to mind. Let me assure you that this amazing and lightning quick script by Jason Wells has you giggling almost the entire time but in the back of your head the serious questions of civil rights protections and policing the government begin to make you think, and if you are paranoid like me, worry.
- 3. From the set design to the costumes, there is a solid feel about this world. Nothing is out of the ordinary in this set, which normally pulls me out of the play because I wonder what the use of that particular item would be, or why it was chosen to be on the stage. Every single thing on that stage is something that could be in a real police station and they use almost everything, yet the stage isn’t cluttered or heavy. The props which really have a massive role in the second act are flawless. Outstanding work by Gabriel Dominic, Carlos Aceves, and Dianne Vega (Costumes, Sets, Props respectively.)
- 2. The direction of Ana-Catrina Buchser kept this train moving perfectly. This script, to me, feels very much like a Neil Simon script. The talking is snappy, not rushed. There aren’t many drawn out silences and the ones that are there are smartly placed and make the comedy that much more funny. Bravo for such great work.
- 1. And finally, THE CAST!!! Kendall Callaghan, as Tanya Shepke, is perfect madness in the best way! Even before the lights come up, you know she is going to be a handful. The amount of energy this role requires is intimidating, but Ms. Callaghan never lets up and by the end, you feel like you ran a marathon. Marjorie Hazletine is intimidating and properly dislikable as Dale Pittman. Her look is severe and her posture totally reads “This is my turf.” When you find out the Plan, you really hope she gets her comeuppance. Tyler Della, as the young “rebel” Carlton Berg, is perfect for this role. I bet if you placed him in the actual DHS, he would blend right in. His earnest pleading, his desperation, and his flat out depression all worked to invoke empathy and sympathy from the viewer. Naomi Evans, admin officer Shonda Cox, had, I think, the toughest role to play. Not only did she have to play an officer of the law who is told she must not engage with the rebel, has to let his remarks about innocent people go unheard yet the civil justice seeker in her makes her want to help and it produces a conflict within her that she plays with wonderfully. What good can you do if you are caught helping a rebel? But how can you just stand by and watch? Ugh! She is so good. When Chief Swenson, played by Tom Gough, first enters I thought he was going to be the usual government lackey so as not to rock any boats, but as the play progresses, he becomes someone to root for, while still being the same character that walked in at the beginning of the show. This made me realize that he was playing a true officer of the law. You have to watch the show to see what I mean because I don’t want to give away ANYTHING!! And the lovesick Bob Lee, portrayed by Alex Prather rounds out the cast. Kinda dopey, kinda nice cop but always only has half of the situation known, Mr. Prather gets to play with another one of the fun roles in this show and does it so well. He is like a little puppy wanting approval and affection from his partner, Pittman, but make no mistake, he will get the job done… even if it is only the menial tasks.
Together, these five actors the other four reasons take you to a small town police station where one man finds out a secret regarding the lives of targeted innocent Americans that really make you think more about the type of government we have in place. Not just the simple, “he wants to take your guns away” so we shouldn’t vote for him or “not going to raise taxes on the rich” so we should vote for him garbage. Bigger thoughts, like the Patriot Act details and any new details that may have been revised in secret, of why the Whistleblower Protection Act doesn’t extend to federal workers like Snowden, or how could the town Ferguson censor the media that first day of it’s crisis and get away with it? How did it get away with a no fly zone? Were they expecting to get bombed or something? Who authorizes that and why? Things I only thought of while they were happening but never really looked into any further. What about you? Did you look further?
This brilliant play, while I laughed my ass off, made me think about these things well after I left the theatre. That’s what great theatre does and RTE has been doing it for 13 years. Support them before their big well deserved vacation.
Now go get your tickets!!!! I swear you won’t regret it…