If you have a penchant for charming robots, foul-mouthed television directors, or classic comedy techniques, Resurrection Theatre Company’s current show is up your alley.
Comic Potential, which kicked off its run Aug. 22, follows a young female robot going through an identity crisis. Is she an ordinary robot, or something more? We meet folks along the way who help or hinder her quest to find her true self as she grapples with acting, love, human conflict and comedy.
The play opens on the set of a television drama, where humans direct and robots, or actoids, are the stars. This particular drama television, like its director Chandler Tate, is on a sharp decline; 16,000,000 to 12,000,000 viewers in a matter of days. Adam Trainsmith, nephew of TV bigwig Lester Trainsmith, comes to the set with optimistic flare and a deep admiration of Tate, who hardly seems to notice him.
When Tate leaves the admirer in charge of letting an actoid charge, the young Transmith begins to see personality and free will in JC-F31-333 (Jacie as he comes to call her).
Elizabeth Dean plays a charming and somewhat naïve Jacie, whose only memories come from the characters in her past TV shows. Dean transforms through the show from that sweet naiveté to confused and angry, overwhelmed by emotions she simply was not programmed for.
Travis Dunbar plays Adam Trainsmith, who serves as Jacie’s biggest supporter, comedic instructor, and partner in crime (literally). Dunbar is convincing as the nostalgic and optimistic young writer, who dotes the clearly flawed director.
Paul Fearn hilariously depicts Tate, an old, washed up alcoholic chauvinist. Fearn plays this role to a T – a comically tragic character you just can’t bring yourself to feel sorry for. His two techies on the set, Prim Spring and Trudi Floote, (Ciara McClary and Aerin Morneau, respectively) are a wonderful pair to complement the piggish Tate, as they quit and return with regularity.
Sabrina Fiora plays the villain, Carla Pepperbloom, with attitude and spice. Pepperbloom is a woman who likes to have control, and doesn’t care who she steps on to get what she wants.
A great supporting cast included Robin Southworth as Lester Trainsmith, Coleman Daniel as Marmion/Turkey, Jason Vitaich as Doctor/Dad/Man in Shop, Andrew Zelny as Boy/Waiter/Technician/Hotel Employee, and Adriana Marmo as Mom/Farmers Wife/Dress Shop Employee.
While a few scenes could move a little quicker, the show on the is charmingly written and well-performed by the entire cast.
This was director Jes Gonzales’ full-length directorial debut, though he’s acted in Sacramento for 16 years. Comic Potential is strong because it serves as both a comedy 101 session and a relevant story of technology and what it means to be human.
“(It) is a very funny show that also has depth. It’s at once funny, charming, challenging, and poignant,” Gonzales said, adding playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s script is “brilliant.”
Resurrection Theatre was founded in 2009 and recently became a nonprofit organization. It has been housed at Wilkerson Theater at 25th and R streets in Midtown Sacramento since the beginning. This tiny theater now houses a show with a great comedic punch that you don’t want to miss.
Comic Potential runs Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 13. Cost is $20 and $15 for students and seniors, and shows start at 8PM.
Learn more about Resurrection Theatre on its website or Facebook page.
Photos courtesy Resurrection Theatre Company.