It is said that satire is a mirror in which we see every face reflected but our own, but I don't see how anyone in the PCC could have missed the point of the Portsmouth HS Drama Club's production, "Oh no! Not my ___!" This was a highly enjoyable evening of theatre with passion, dark wit, and some really fine performances.
Lights up on the fictional town of Salisbury, which has decided to solve its financial problems by appointing a dictator. Played in delightful over-the-top style by Tyler Goodman, his first official act is to abolish all taxes, substituting usage fees for everyday activities like eating, peeing, thinking, and talking.
Naturally, those townspeople most prone to excess wind up getting nailed by the dictator's henchmen, who wander through scenes slapping Post-It tax bills on the unlucky. They congregate around Alyssa (Sara Fiore) -- who is getting taxed for repeated rationality -- hoping for an answer, but to no avail. "My bladder is the size of a cantaloupe," whines Brooke (Christie Perkins). "Guess I'll go home and eat a chair," mutters Blaine (Ken Hawes).
But not until Brooke is hauled off to jail for not paying her urination taxes do the townspeople rebel. By that time the town optimist (Charlotte Kinder) is sighing heavily, the talker (Kathryn Boland) has resorted to Charades, and foodie Blaine is literally out in the audience, chewing on seats.
The townspeople manage to confuse the tax collectors with beautifully executed nonsensical activities ("I don't know why you had me do it with a stick...but it's done.") and force their way into the dictator's lair to free the trapped Brooke.
Along the way there are delightful sharp-elbowed jabs at the tax rebels in general ("They are soulless creatures who don't care who they walk over as long as they're on top.") and the dictator in particular. Caught by his henchman in the downward dog, he hides behind his desk yelling, "I don't do yoga!" All this is accompanied by clever dialog and deft staging (in one delicious bit of business, the captured Brooke is made to pose, arms outstretched on a box in an evocation of Abu Ghraib).
And just in case you might have missed the authors' message, Alyssa confronts the dictator: "As a member of the community, you're responsible to support it."
Kudos to all the cast for both planning and execution of this collaboratively-written reductio ad absurdum, director Andrew Katzman's crisp direction, and choreographer Johanna Josefsson's nicely staged finale, an appropriately upbeat number called "Save Our Schools." Bravo, all.