You have to love the irreverence and accurate lampooning this comedic company creates as they expose the truth about how marijuana became illegal in the United States. The story is told through the experience of several modern characters that Michigan marijuana community members will recognize: a long-term marijuana user who is trying to quit, nicknamed Tammy Chong; a national legislator who has introduced a pro-marijuana bill; a fledgling news reporter who sees the story as a means to further her career; and The Botanist, an underground marijuana grower who just wants to take a vacation.
The story’s most informative portions- and many of the funniest moments in the production- come via flashbacks to Colonial times, to the early 1930-s and the Nixon era. Historical figures including Anslinger and George Washington are portrayed as they illustrate hemp’s significance to an emergent America, the renaming of the plant to ‘marijuana,’ the influence of industrialists in federal drug policy and the efforts of many to maintain pot’s illegality despite evidence of medical benefit.
The marijuana is fake (of course), the fog is real (and non-allergenic), the actors are talented and the history is all true. Except for the part about Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence on Washington’s back while standing in a cloud of hemp smoke. I think. My short-term memory seems to have failed me for some strange reason.
Planet Ant’s actors perform in a theater that puts the players just a few feet from your face and that’s a good thing. There are hilarious songs, interesting dance numbers and snappy dialog that’s best heard without artificial amplification or crazy camera angles. Writers Jamie Moyer and Shawn Handlon hit the nail on the head with this script, and Handlon’s direction seems to bring the most out of the cast and crew.
Speaking of cast, this troupe is amazing! Every actor and actress play several parts in the production, each calling for wardrobe and vocal changes, and the players do all the set changes as well. The production is long- a two-hour play with a 15 minute intermission (smoke break)- but you’ll never see these folks sweat it out. Dax Anderson, Mikey Brown, Patrick Cronin, Patrick Loos, Kelly Rossi and Katie Terpstra keep the action flowing and never miss a note.
The production run for this play is limited so get out and see this show right away.
Where: Planet Ant Theater, 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck
When: Shows Friday and Saturday evenings, 8PM Sunday matinees at 2PM
How long: Only two weekends left! Show runs through March 29 with only one Sunday show left- March 23
How Much: $20 per ticket
Information: 313 365-4948