Here’s a scary thought


“It took you guys 90 minutes to come up with that?”

“It took you guys 90 minutes to come up with that?”

Photo by Charr Crail

Ideation; 7 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $22-$38. Capital Stage, 2215 J Street; (916) 995-5464, Through February 22.

Rated 5.0

Ideation: noun, the process of brainstorming, or the formation of ideas or concepts.

It seems wrong that a drama about finding a way to deal with the possible extinction of half the world’s population can be as hilarious as playwright Aaron Loeb’s Ideation, now playing at Capital Stage. But it is uproariously funny at times (skewering corporate culture and “bizspeak,” for example) and horrifyingly frightening when it puts seemingly sane minds to work on an insane project. Can anyone divorce himself from specifics enough to justify “theoretical” action?

A team of top-notch, high-paid corporate consultants is tasked with preparing an acceptable plan for, well, “intake,” “transport” and “disposal” of more casualties than anyone wants to think about. Alpha ideator Brock (Jason Kuykendall in the best business suit ever), dependable family man and civil engineer Ted (Peter Mohrmann), and industrial engineer Sandeep (Jimmy Sidhu) breeze into the crisp corporate meeting room fresh from a job in Greece and ready for the next project. It’s mysterious and questionable, but to them, just another job. They are idea men, and idea men ideate. Joining them are Hanna (Carrie Paff), the only woman in the corporate hierarchy, there to keep the men on track, and her young, doofus assistant Scooter (Russell Dow), who was forced upon her by J.D., the company CEO (voiced by Patrick Murphy).

As ideas flow, personal secrets, fears, self-interests and questions arise. Words turn back on themselves. Fights break out. Loyalties are questioned and paranoia spreads around the room like a virus.

Michael Stevenson directs this play with clocklike precision. He has to, since it takes place in real time. The consultants have only 90 minutes to prepare their initial presentation, and the actors have only 90 minutes to get that done. There is real magic on stage here: actors, director, playwright, designers and crew united in one goal. What they deliver is scary good.