Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ darkly wry play set in a New York magazine office was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize and has received high acclaim from critics in New York and London. It makes its Sydney debut at the Seymour Centre in June and seems likely to attract the same kind of buzz.
Based around a competitive, vitriolic young group of lower tier journalists, the play spotlights the destructive modern desire to be “the first” and “the most” and the extremes that culture can lead to.
“When the audience comes into the theatre they’re gonna say ‘okay, we’re gonna see an office satire.’ And then, in reality, it’s much, much more than that,” says Michelle Ny who plays the dual roles of Kendra and Jenna. The plot hinges on a very sudden, pivotal incident, one that is quite confronting, yet Ny says it’s not a sombre play.
“It’s very, very funny… it’s a satire, it’s crazy. I don’t think it’s dark. It’s not dramatic at all, you’ll be laughing for a lot of it – until you’re in shock!” she explains. “The text is amazing, there is so much subtext going on. So then it’s really satisfying to watch.”
The play is clear on its intent and while there’s social commentary, there’s no preaching or moralising. Ny also describes it as “very, very American,” but she believes “an Australian audience will have a connection to it and will understand what it is.”
It’s hard to say much more without giving away the plot – and you should try and see it before someone does.
Until Jun 22. Seymour Centre, Cnr Cleveland St & City Rd, Chippendale. $33-$47+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.seymourcentre.com
By Rita Bratovich