Rebecca Spafford is riveting as a not-so-dumb woman living on the fringes of society
Reviewed by Tom Jones
March 6, 2016
Tanya Shepke is a character to be reckoned with. She is a sassy gum-chewing barmaid in rural Missouri who ends up at the police station – turning herself in before she can be arrested for drunk driving. She is a wild woman, who is amazingly street savvy. Her education is minimal, as she talks as if she might have learned her “basic ABCs,” but needs to include “f bombs” in every sentence. Rebecca Spafford is a wonder as the wild woman who claims, among other things, that her husband tried to drown her in the bathtub.
Sitting outside Tanya’s cell is Shonda Cox, an employee of the jail, played by Saja Butler. She is attempting to study, but is continually interrupted by the obnoxious Tanya, eager for conversation and the assurance that she will soon be released. Another supposed felon soon arrives — Carlton Berg, a State Department bureaucrat in a neighboring cell.
He is desperate for some help in getting word to his superior where he is located, and where he has hidden a list of the new regime’s top Most Wanted list. A revolution is in the making, and martial law has been imposed, putting everyone at risk of being a suspected traitor – either to the government, or to the revolutionary cause. Cary Klataske is very good as the imprisoned man. His current hope for help appears to be the foul-mouthed lowlife Tanya in the opposite cell, with only the jail employee Shonda between them. Marlin May portrays Police Chief Swensen. He appears to be a good man, not knowing what to make of the revolution, but wants to do his job to maintain order in his little piece of the world.
Berg is tracked down by two revolutionaries from the Department of Homeland Security — Dale Pittman and Bob Lee. Dale is portrayed by Briana Sprecher-Kinneer and Lee by Steven G. Fox. Dale is another tough-as-nails woman, now in a position of authority who believes use of explicit language gives her an aura of toughness. The two are a haughty pair, believing that they are now on the team running the country, and not hesitating to use physical torture to aid their cause.
The “North Plan” in the title refers to a master military contingency plan credited to Oliver North to be used in the event of national emergency. The results of effectuating the plan provide for two hours of amazing theatre. This is a roller-coaster ride of high hilarity and a frightening realization of “what might happen”
The set is a terrific piece of claustrophobia, where everyone wishes he/she was someplace else. Lighting is very good, and the banter between the inmates, local authorities, and Homeland Security is riveting. The play was written by Jason Wells, and directed by David Austin-Groen.
This is a highly entertaining and thought-providing production where three of the cast of six end up riddled by bullets at the show’s frightening conclusion. The cast is uniformly excellent, as they provide the audience with a very exciting theatrical experience. The story presented has lingered with me for several days, sometimes with chills, sometimes with great chuckles.
“The North Plan”
Where: OpenStage Theatre production, on the Magnolia Theatre Stage of Lincoln Center. 417 West Magnolia Street, Fort Collins.
When: Through March 19, 2016
For more information: www.ltix.com