On guns and laughs
The North Plan
Sacramento, CA 95816
Capital Stage slaps an apt and humorous caution onto its production of Jason Well’s dark comedy The North Plan. “Warning: The North Plan contains strong language, loud gunfire and rampant conspiracy theories.” The production should have added: “May split sides and cause death by laughter.”
The first part of the warning is due to dialogue of the unconventional heroine Tanya—a sassy, brass-balled, alcohol-loving petty criminal who has no filters and can’t complete a sentence without inserting a “motherfucker” somewhere. Tanya, in a knockout performance by the hilarious Katie Rubin (pictured), establishes an unlikely jailhouse alliance with midlevel government bureaucrat Carlton Berg (Cassidy Brown), who is brought in under new Homeland Security measures after the agency takes over the U.S. government.
All action takes place in a small-town Missouri police station, overseen by the good-natured police chief Swenson (Harry Harris) and young earnest police administrator Shonda (Alexandra Barthel). In the first half, this comedic farce contains hilarious interchanges between the two prisoners and their cautious but sympathetic jailers. The second half brings in two menacing and squabbling Homeland Security officers (William Elsman and Andrew J. Perez) who don’t quite agree with each other or know what to do with their new powers and prisoners.
The play, while clever and comedic, is also topical in a couple aspects, including an unexpected turn after Capital Stage artistic director Stephanie Gularte chose it for this season. Ultimately, the theater included an insert about gun violence in the show’s program.
Yes, the overall subject matters in The North Plan can be thought-provoking, but mostly it’s audaciously funny with its sharp, daring dialogue and physical comedy presented by a talented cast headlined by Rubin, whose line delivery and expressions are priceless.
The Capital Stage cast is supported by director Peter Mohrmann, who keeps the rhythm flowing throughout, and a stellar backstage crew that designed the creative set, spot-on costumes, and impressive production features.
And one more element should be added to the initial Capital Stage warning: “Regrets may occur if you miss this clever kick-ass comedy.”