King of the Hill

The Latest GableStage Production is a Timely Take on Politics

By Lizzie Wilcox

June 2019

What does it take to sell your soul? That’s just one of many questions explored in the dark and biting comedy “Kings,” the latest production at the GableStage.

“Kings” is the story of Kate, a sharp, ambitious lobbyist who gets her clients elected by whatever it takes, and Rep. Sydney Millsap, a political newcomer who puts her ideals first. In a classic conflict between integrity and experience, we follow dramatically different senatorial candidates through the year leading up to the election.

This conflict of conscience is nothing new, of course, but has a particularly poignant ring in today’s political climate. And GableStage delivers the message with laser precision. Diana Garle is perfect as the hard driving Kate, who has a lesson to learn about sticking to what is right. Karen Stephens, who plays Sidney Millsap (a variation of today’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), is the show stealer, passionately portraying the moral rectitude we would all like to see in all our politicians.

GableStage, for those who have never been, is an intimate space that works
well with small scale productions. During this play, the audience even becomes the crowd during an election rally. But don’t confuse size with quality. The Gables’ production of playwright Sarah Burgess’ “Kings,” is nothing short of excellent. Among the audience commentary we heard during blackouts between sets were, “This is really good,” and, “This is so well written.”

Also overheard was “I don’t know which one I can trust,” a feeling that is painfully relevant outside the doors of GableStage. At least in this setting, you don’t actually have to choose.