Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

ASSISTANCE at Playwrights Horizons

New York Premier of a new play by Leslye Headland
Director: Trip Cullman
Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater, 416 West 42nd St.
Opening night, Tuesday, Feb. 28th.

We all know them—the beleaguered corporate assistants who are giving up any hope of personal time, relationships, and sanity, all for the overriding ambition to be the next CEO, or at least have a better job title, or maybe, just maybe a raise. In a canny dramatist move, you don’t know what this company is and we never see the CEO, just hear him on the phone hurling abuse at his assistants, setting up impossible tasks for them, making them cater to him to him ways that are not only unnecessary, but sadistic. By doing this, Headland allows the reader to fill in the business, the face, because either we’ve worked for someone like that or we’re close to someone who is. The proof of that is to hear the audience roaring over the mayhem caused by this guy. A satire that’s all too true!

And what’s also true is that the creepiest, most dishonest and incompetent character played Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, (also seen in Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, et. al.) is the one who manages to get advancement. Isn’t that always the way?
Nick (Michael Esper, American Idiot, A Man for All Seasons) hasn’t gotten his promotion yet. He has glimpses of the truth of his situation, which makes him come to work hung over and become the compulsive jokester. When Nora (Virginia Cull seen in Man and Boy and Dividing the Estate) ,quits, Nick is on the edge of seeing the truth, but still trying to hide from it. Justin, another assistant (Bobby Steggert of The Minister’s Wife and The Grand Manner) has to break up with his therapist to prevent himself from seeing the truth about the futile and toxic environment he’s working in. Heather (Sue Jean Kim seen in The Drunken City)plays an inept hysteric who hardly lasts a day. Nora’s replacement, Jenny (Amy Rosoff seen in Dangerous Liaisons) who takes supplants Nora’s position like an opportunist weed, begins cool, collected, and ends up decompensating like the rest.

This is a play to go to after a drink with your work mates. But it’s also a play to go to if you’re a parent with young kids. Thanks to a grant that it took ten years to secure, you can now get childcare while you watch the show. The sitters for Playtime are bonded, top-of-the-line folks from Sitters Studio who you would want to have around your child. But they are also artists who will provide a fun and creative cultural experience for your child while you enjoy the show.


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