BWW Review: SPIKES at RKP Theatre Productions And Cyrano's Theatre Company
Art about energy companies is not a new concept-especially in Alaska. However RKP Theatre Productions in partnership with Cyrano's Theatre Company's rendition of Spikes is a refreshing look on the Enron scandal in the early 2000s. Written by Schatzie Schaefers and directed by Dick Reichman, Spikes enthralls from start to finish.
Julie (Taylor Cambell) is a young adult who works multiple jobs to provide for herself and her mom-Aurora (Jill Bess)-who lives with heart conditions and various mental health ailments. When Julie receives a job interview with Enron that brings her out of town, Aurora responds to a scam mail promising her over three million dollars in exchange for delivering sensitive personal information. Meanwhile, in Houston, Julie meets newcomer Will (Jamie Nelson) who just left from trading on the New York City Stock Exchange, chauvinistic Noah (Carl Bright), and a sexily clad administrative assistant Lauren (Stephanie Leigh). After a brief interview with CEO Garrett (Todd Sherwood), it becomes clear that Enron's corporate culture is predatory towards females and declines the job, setting the story into play.
Despite fully enjoying Spikes, it is intentionally not a fun play to watch. The story is a harsh look at corporations and businesses destroying peoples' lives. An aura of anxiety grows steadily as the play climaxes. The stage (designed by Brian Saylor) is set is separated into three different sections: the Blue Room for entertaining, the office, and Aurora's living room chair. Each actor takes on their roles beautifully, yet Bess's performance steals the show. From the first scene she sets the tone for the feel of the play-funny, yet sad. The choice to have Garret, Barrister, and Man be played by the same person is brilliant. The end leaves you with goosebumps, and wanting desperately to know just a bit more of what happened to the characters. Schaefers' witty script impressively touts incredibly realistic and relatable characters that reach the heart. It is my hope that Schaefers' script is taken outside of Alaska and continues to be performed for many more audiences.
Go out and support your local artists! Tickets are available at CenterTix.net. Playing now through April 29th.
Photo credit: Jan Welt