Review: The Thanksgiving Play at Capital Stage
Logan is a progressive liberal, and she’s proud she’s woke AF. This elementary school drama teacher is high on self-proclaimed self-awareness, and she’s self-congratulatory about her political, cultural, gender and ethnic sensitivities. So when she is tasked with producing a politically correct Thanksgiving play for Native American Heritage Month, she OD’s on P.C., along with her yoga-teaching, street-performing boyfriend Jaxton.
The Thanksgiving Play by Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse is a hilarious, satirical look at the well-intentioned, well-meaning and, at times, clueless efforts of white progressives to grasp the complexities of race, culture and ethnic societal challenges and solutions.
This Capital Stage production begins with a funny short video of adorable children putting on a past “tasteful” Thanksgiving play, setting the scene for the struggles to be politically correct with this historically problematic holiday. And then we get introduced to the three white peeps tasked with producing this year’s turkey play—Logan (Jennifer Le Blanc), Jaxton (Cassidy Brown) and earnest researcher Caden (Jouni Kirjola), all who overanalyze their every moment, thought, action and reaction.
Enter the actress they want to portray a Native American—hired based on her headshot, which shows her in braids, a headband and turquoise jewelry. Alicia (Gabby Battista) bounds in, and its soon apparent that a headband does not a Native American make.
The Thanksgiving Play is thoroughly entertaining, both in subject matter and in the seamlessly synchronized cast—all four talented actors completely capture their characters while playing off each other in perfect rhythm. All this under the careful direction of Michael Stevenson, staged in a simple classroom setting, and interspersed with videos of young actors in previous awkward holiday productions. A turkey it is not.