The average college grad doesn’t dream of a career spent confined in a cubicle, staring at a computer screen and counting the seconds ’til 5. But even the most idealistic and ambitious of job seekers often find themselves obsessively checking Facebook in between struggling to stay awake through coma-inducing meetings at a thankless job.
“Rx,” a new play by Kate Fodor playing at 59E59 Theaters in New York, satirizes the sometimes mind-numbing world of office life while poking fun at the overmedicated masses.
(Meena and Dr. Phil share a moment during “Rx.” Photo courtesy of timeoutnewyork.com)
The stage production centers around a pharmaceutical company that is testing a drug, called SPF-925, to alleviate the workaday blues. One of its test subjects, Meena Pierotti, is a wannabe poet who’s ended up in an unfulfilling position as the managing editor of piggeries for American Cattle and Swine Magazine. She periodically sneaks away from office drudgery for a good cry over the life she’s missing out on.
Phil, the doctor administering the test, and Meena begin falling for each other, endangering the trial. Conflict ensues when the drug begins to take affect and Meena starts to find work more satisfying and has less time for Dr. Phil.
Theatergoers — who themselves spend their workweeks waiting for Friday night — will no doubt find plenty to giggle at (or at least relate to) in the digs at various office stereotypes and characters.
And “Rx” isn’t the first production to find great comedic and dramatic fodder living in corporate culture. Playwrights have long been inspired by the plight of the lowly office peon hoping to rise above the mundane world of cubicle life.
Here are a few other shows that have put the 9-to-5 grind on stage:
(Photo courtesy of St. Louis Theatre Snob.)
“9 to 5: The Musical” by Mel Brooks – Three working women conspire to gain control of their company, overthrowing their bigoted boss in the process. The show features plenty of office staples — including gossiping co-workers, bitter employees and an impossible-to-use copy machine.
(Photo courtesy of Drama Queen NYC)
“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” by Frank Loesser, Abe Borrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert – The musical follows the rise of a young window washer from mailroom to vice president of advertising (with questionable ethics) at the World-Wide Wicket Company. Daniel Radcliffe of “Harry Potter” fame has made a big impression in the current revival of the show — proving he’s more than just wands and robes. Employees at World Wide Wicket bemoan the guy who takes the last cup of coffee, office nepostism and ignorant bosses.
(Photo courtesy of Syracuse.com)
“Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller – A weary traveling salesman who’s about to lose his job wants to make up to his wife and two alienated sons after years of being absent. There’s plenty not to love about office life in this one, including an inflexible boss, long days on the road and people who want to appear more successful then they are. Not exactly a pick-me-up, but a must-see for disenchanted office dwellers everywhere.
(Photo courtesy of )
“The Way of All Fish” by Elaine May – Uber-successful businesswoman Miss Asquith seems to have everything — a multimillion dollar corporation, designer clothes and a busy social life — but she longs for simple companionship. During dinner in the office, her hard-working but mousy secretary reveals that the one thing she wants in life is infamy — in the vein of such notorious criminals as John Wilkes Booth, Charles Manson and Jack the Ripper. The darkly humorous play centers on their conversation and what really lies underneath both women’s ambitions. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t have a co-worker that they’ve long suspected had homicidal tendencies?
“Occupy Wall Street: The Musical” by Joshua Brown – According to thereformedbroker.com, preproduction for this off-Broadway show was to begin in January. The play tells the story of David, an “idealistic young occupier,” who falls for a disenchanted Goldman Sachs employee and attempts to lure her into the Occupy movement. Jenny must choose between a promising career on Wall Street and true love all to the backdrop of drum circles in Zuccotti Park and “suited and slick” investment bankers.
“Onward and Upward” by Maile Chapman – After he’s found having an affair, Frank finds himself banished to office purgatory where an annoying co-worker conspires with others to make his life hell. The one-act play originally appeared in Seattle.