The boundaries of time and space are suspended in this intriguing production. Cocaine Plane!, written by local first time playwright Emily Bossé and directed by Jake Martin, tells the stories of eight people—two teenage girls, two struggling lovers, two stoners, and two Columbian drug lords—and their varied and oddly connected reactions to an event that put Fredericton on the map, or at least in the New York Times.
It’s 1989. A plane carrying half a ton of cocaine has just crashed near Fredericton. The pilots have been arrested, the drugs have been seized, and the community is in a tither. This is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in a long time and suddenly anything is possible. The results are tumultuous. All hell breaks loose: relationships fall apart, large sums of money are stolen, people die.
Jose (Devin Luke) and Fernando (Jean-Michel Cliche), pilots of said cocaine plane find themselves in the Fredericton jail after their crash. Simultaneously, Alexis (Amelia Jeanne Ray) and Jason (Barry McCluskey) are having an illicit love affair as Jason and Stephanie’s (Alexa Higgins) relationship is coming to a end. Stoners Kirk (Jesse LaPointe) and Lonce (Brett Loughry) have been wrangled by a crooked cop into transporting large amounts of cocaine from New Brunswick into Montreal. Little do they know that they’ve been duped, and, spoiler alert, what they’ve been asked to carry is actually enough icing sugar to cause a diabetic endemic.
Newcomer, Ray, holds her own amongst the solid performances of her fellow actors. The comedic timing between LaPointe and Loughry had the audience in stitches. McCluskey made such a convincing sleazeball that it’s hard not to hate him in real life.
Having primarily been performed as a stage production, this dramatic reading is surprisingly engaging. The narrator did little to set the scene, aside from dryly reading the stage notes. Somehow this was enough to evoke the imagination. The inflection of the delivery of their lines and power of their facial expressions were enough to bring each scene to life.
With enough f-bombs to blow up New Brunswick and clocking in at two and a half hours, you might be relieved with it’s over, but you’ll be glad that you went.