“You just tell me what to say and I will say it. Flawlessly, perfectually.”
Stuck in small-town Nebraska, Francine struggles to write speeches for a woman she despises. Her candidate, Penelope Easter, is inexperienced, prone to verbal gaffs and unshakably confident. Their campaign seems doomed, until one big speech launches them to prominence.
Francine’s husband, Jeffrey, wants to escape the political grind so they can start a family. Drowning in ennui, he falls in with a conspiracy theorist who’s convinced that the Easter camp is hiding something. The two sides rocket toward a bloody showdown, putting a marriage, a campaign and Nebraska’s future at risk.
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s script elevates the cliché of bloviating politicians by peppering in actual jokes. It’s “The West Wing” meets The Devil’s Advocate, in the weirdest way possible.
Holly Haverkorn feasts on Penelope’s every quip and non sequitur. She knows she’s a parody and uses it to her advantage, tapping into an addictive charisma that you can’t stop watching.
Sarah S. Shaver nails the rhythms of a writer, living and dying over each word she crafts. The duo has buckets of fun playing off each other. That first nibble of success leaves them both ecstatic—and hungry for more.
When Springs Ensemble announced they were devoting their 2018 season to political animals, I felt preemptively exhausted. “The Totalitarians” proves my reluctance ill-founded, offering up an aggressive, unapologetic and shockingly funny case for political theatre.
This one gets my vote.
Taylor Geiman and Dante Finley bring great comic energy to their rebels-on-a-budget storyline. It’s a nice change of pace that still takes shots at political incompetence.
Eight TV screens flank the stage, airing cable-access attack ads and Grape Nuts commercials. Somebody had a fun week.
“The Totalitarians” features profanity, violence, aggressive sexual content and balloon drops.
Springs Ensemble Theatre
1903 E Cache La Poudre
Box Office: (719) 357-3080
Playing February 15 – March 4, 2018 (buy tickets)
Admission: $15 general
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes