This The Paladin review by Savannah Jones and Macy Petty was originally published on February 9th, 2023. Photo: Wallace Krebs
Last Friday, The Warehouse Theatre hosted the world premiere of “Kill Corp,” a new play by Sofia Alvarez. Having read the title and a few plot details on the theatre’s website, I had no idea what to expect when we reached our seats on opening night. What I found was a fresh, hilarious, and surprising drama with touching themes.
The show opens with Marie, a young professional, contemplating a dilemma with her friend Paul — she is pregnant, and the company that she works for has a history of firing pregnant women. Her solution: kill the three partners in her company and become the boss. While she moves forward with these plans amid the warnings and advice of her friends, she also grapples with the idea of “changing” once she becomes a mother.
This drama was such an immersive experience in that the story compels you from start to finish—the sharp exchanges of dialogue, each scene ending with a question about Marie’s situation, leave no lag in the action. The play has a wonderful mix of humorous and thought-provoking content. One moment a scene will have you laughing out loud, and the next it will have you rethinking your own life and relationships and pondering what the future has in store for you. The show also demonstrates the difficulty of finding a healthy work-life balance and how easily you can become obsessed with moving up in your job while forgetting about your personal life.
The cast was small, with all the actors except Jo Garcia-Reger (Marie) playing two roles. Garcia-Reger was brilliant as Marie, making the most of her character’s comedic and emotional capital. She commanded each scene, masterfully navigating tone shifts in the dialogue. One moment she would have the audience roaring with laughter and in the next we would be absolutely silent, captivated by her ability to tap into and project the character’s vulnerable side.
Amanda Sox and Claire McPartland played Emily and Kennedy, two other women who had been supposedly pushed out of the company because of pregnancy. Both actresses played brilliantly into and beyond the archetypes that are established for them in the first scene, providing different examples of how women juggle careers and motherhood. Wesley Hudson brought incredible warmth to Paul, acting as the play’s voice of reason in being frightened by Marie’s murderous impulses while also displaying a genuine care for her. Liam MacDougall showed amazing versatility in doubling as Alex, Marie’s loving husband, and the arrogant, misogynistic Brooks, one of the partners in the company.
The show included multiple transitions to several scenes, and at points the play felt more like a movie or sitcom with quick cuts to a completely new location, since plays usually only contain a handful of scenes. This is likely due to the fact that the playwright is also a screenwriter, known for movies such as “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” so her work as a screenwriter influenced her play writing.
Mike Sablone, Artistic Director of Warehouse Theatre, is thrilled that their company is giving this exciting new work its start. “Every classic was once an unknown world premier,” he said. “I am glad we get to launch this one. It’s great fun and a relevant story.” Playwright Sofia Alvarez says this play is connected to her experience of motherhood; she wrote it when her son was a year old during the pandemic. When asked if she had any advice for aspiring writers and artists, Alvarez said to find artists you admire who are only one of two steps ahead of you in your field and watch their career progression. “See what they are doing, apply for the things they are applying for,” she said.
Garcia-Reger stated it was a great experience to play a strong woman like Marie. “This plays is about dismantling current systems of power and includes many different marginalized groups,” she said. She likes that the conclusion of the play is “open-ended,” saying that Marie “has to forge her own path because she had no choice.” Likewise, Hudson (Paul) reflected on the intersectionality of his character as a queer Black man and his work partner, Marie, being a pregnant woman. He stated, “If [Marie] can do this, maybe [Paul] can do this too despite the obstacles of being a queer Black man in a workspace.” He further stated that he is excited to be involved because he feels that the show is true to real life and thought-provoking.