“The North Plan” a frightening yet funny look into current events
“The North Plan” premiered at the Burke-Hawthorne theater on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. before anxious guests who had been waiting for the play.
“The North Plan” has mainly premiered in the Western part of the United States and had never been premiered in the South until now. Jonah Boudreaux, the assistant director, described the play as very Quentin Tarantino-esque and similar to the plot of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
The play transports audience members to a dystopic U.S., where an extreme political party has taken over the U.S. and has left its citizens scared for their lives. Journalists are under constant surveillance, and government officials are allowed to act ruthlessly to anyone who steps out of line. The plot centers around a young bureaucrat who is trying to end this inhumane behavior by sparking a revolution. He does this by planning to share the “Enemies List” (a list of citizens in which the government plans to kill) with the country. He falls short of this plan when he attempts to give the list to the Police Chief in the town of Lodus, Missouri. He must find a way to share this information by either persuading the nervous administrative assistant or convincing his daft cellmate to steal the information. The play is not meant for the wary of heart because of the excessive use of profanity and violence.
“The play was really good even though profanity normally turns people away,” said Leigha McNeil, a sophomore from New Orleans majoring in broadcasting.
The first scene began with Tanya Shepke (played by Emily Daigle, junior theater major from Baton Rouge) in a jail cell complaining about her misfortunes to Shonda Cox (played by Jasmine Moore, sophomore theater major from Shreveport).
Shepke was portrayed as a backwoods country woman who possibly has less than a high school education. Her outfit complemented her personality perfectly with bedazzled jeans and a cowgirl hat the size of Texas.
Kiana Vincent, a senior double majoring in theater and political science from Centereach, New York, was the costume designer for “The North Plan.” Vincent said her main focus was to make the outfits look as realistic and backwoods as possible.
Cox was the voice of reason throughout the entire screenplay. Although trapped in a world full of racist, sexist neanderthals, she was able to keep her composure — for the most part. Cox was hit with comments about her intelligence and race from Shepke, Carlton Berg and Dale Pittman.The astounding thing was that Cox was probably the smartest person in the jailhouse.
Moore described Shonda as a very “grounded character” and commended her for putting her ego aside to help society. Moore was able to portray the character of Cox so well because she said she felt she could relate with Cox. If you have not seen the production, Moore said you should “prepare for a revolution.”
The next people to enter the jailhouse were Berg (played by Christian Mouisset, junior theater major) and Chief Swenson, played by Duncan Thistlethwaite of Lafayette. Berg and Swenson were arguing over a kill list that Berg wanted to share with the country. Berg was thrown into the jail cell, and Swenson calls homeland security. It was at this point that the audience got an idea of the state of the country. It was obvious the country was completely under martial law and the federal government finally reached total control. It was scary to think about, but the dark humor from the play eradicated some of those worries.
Berg’s main objective was to share the kill list with the country, but he was trapped in Lodus with no hope of escaping. Mouisset describes Berg as the “unlikely hero” and the embodiment of privilege.
“He is basically a frat guy,” Mouisset said.
Berg spent a majority of his time yelling at Cox to release him from his cell so he could release the information. His attempts were going nowhere due to his attitude and the hilarious interruptions from Shepke. He realized that Shepke was the unlikely key to his problem and decided to work with her to release the information. It was funny to watch the two try to devise a plan because they were on completely different levels of intelligence.
While Berg was trying to figure out a way to escape, Shepke was cursing up a storm and provoking Cox. Swenson had enough of the yelling and walked back in the room to show his dominance. Swenson can be described as the father figure of the production; he mainly wanted to take care of the citizens and help rehabilitate his prisons. This task was almost impossible with Tanya because she was beyond the point of being helped. Thistlethwaite describes his character as someone who is a “nice guy” that is stuck in a very difficult situation. Swenson has to battle between his duties a police officer and his morals as a good human being. We saw in the end that his morales outweighed his obligations, but it was a little too late.
The most incredible part of the production was the turn-table set. Once the scene with the jail cells ended, the set spinned to the front of the public building where the audience saw the main office.
The overall message of the play is for everyone to recognize that if the political world continues down its current path, a revolution is the only way to end this tyranny. It is obvious that there is an issue with an over-encompassing power. When Shepke ended the show with those gun shots, the crowd erupted into an applause. After the performance, Taylor Fallin, a senior majoring in nursing, stated, “The play was better than I thought it would be.”
Other guests truly saw the relevance of the show.
“It’s appropriate for the time,” said Spencer Goidel, junior political science major from Baton Rouge who attended the play.