SALT LAKE CITY — Savage Resources (written and directed by Ariana Broumas Farber) is billed as a “savage satire about winning, working and TikTok.” But ultimately, it feels like a story about surveillance, corporations, and the places where people have control. Savage Resources follows the employees of MegaDent, and the TikTokers who sell their products.
The play opens with a rendition of “Savage” by Meg Thee Stallion, where Megan (played by Jennica Anusua) and Bernie (played by Sam Torres) are dancing in front of the omnipresent ring light and cell phone, while the other records the dancer. The play segues into Sharon from HR (played by Tiffani DiGregorio), who has low key Nurse Ratchet vibes, as she performs a longwinded land acknowledgement, prompting Bernie to say, “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen, when it ends.
Initially, this suggests a connection with liberal-leftist practices with that of a religion, but this analysis falls apart as Sharon asks for everyone’s pronouns and Gary (aka GG, played by Jeffrey Owen) adamantly refuses, as he thinks his should be obvious. Throughout the play the audience is confronted with how language and feelings are prioritized over truth and actual actions. As Sharon reads off different complaints filed by the employees, it becomes apparent that HR does not actually value people: GG gets in trouble for referring to the girls as “girls” (which Bernie, reciting the policy, says is discriminatory). Bernie complains about religious intolerance/emotional harm because Sarah told her Brigham Young was a polygamist (even though Bernie has no connection to Mormonism). Sarah complains about how her disability was not accommodated, which she only brings up in passing in an conversation about something else entirely. Megan, the only one with a valid complaint about physical assault, is told that hurt feelings can be worse than being hit.
During each of the flashbacks, the characters break off, and the ring light/cell phone is re-positioned as if recording everything happening. At one point, Gary says that, “Although the iron curtain has fallen, censorship is still alive and well.” During one scene where Bernie tells Megan you can’t say “lame,” “stupid,” or “Indian style,” because the terms are offensive, Megan curses everyone out, not understanding the words on the list HR gave them that are or are not appropriate to say.
Savage Resources does not showcase any technical prowess, with consistent lighting throughout, and outside of “Savage” playing periodically (accompanied with a dance number), there is no sound design. Even the set itself is bare bones, with only six chairs that are moved periodically to differentiate between past and present, and of course the ring light and cell phone. The play’s strength is in the casting; all the actors are all phenomenal to watch, bundled with a modern script with fantastic and distinct characters. Savage Resources is great for anyone who wants to see fantastic actors explore how identity politics can be weaponized against anyone and everyone.