Best Big Play on a Small Stage

God's Plot

At a time when theater companies across the board are vexed about their survival, Shotgun Players is enjoying an improbable growth spurt. The twenty-year-old company, which started as a nomadic troupe but found mooring at The Ashby Stage in 2004, now has the wherewithal to hire a modest number of union actors. And its ambitions outpace those of many peers in the local scene: Shotgun is famous for putting on giant, sprawling productions of little-known classics and contemporary epics — stuff that the average company would deem too costly, or too risky, or both. Yet Shotgun has never suffered for thinking big and acting accordingly. It capped off its 2011 season with God’s Plot, a fabulously weird premiere by local playwright and director Mark Jackson. Featuring ten actors and two musicians, it’s a send-up to the 17th-century colonial satire called Ye Bare & Ye Cubb, which, Jackson said, was the first play to ever be staged in the United States. God’s Plot reimagined the historical circumstances under which that play was birthed, drawing parallels to contemporary discussions of religion and censorship. Shrewd and marvelously entertaining, it’s worthy of a second run — if another company will risk it.


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