My bank holiday weekend started off with a bang.
An evening at the theatre to see the new play ‘This isn’t my desk’ by Kate Cosgrave (who wrote and directed this piece for At Large Theatre) was my plan for tonight. The venue was Smock Alley Main Space – the Temple Bar Theatre which apparently is the oldest in the land, having been built in the 17th century.
As we entered the auditorium some cast members were already on stage. In a desultory manner a pair of blue overall wearing cleaners were sweeping the floor. The location was an office.
After we took our seats, the music began. the audience lights dimmed, and the action began.
Set in a multi-national corporation called Global Futures, long term employee A (Alice Ni Bheolain) is feverishly working in her cubicle. She is summoned to meet HR (Maureen Rabbite) along with her manager O (Ciaran Treanor). Expecting a good appraisal she discovers that she is being ‘restructured’ (fired).
What follows is a humourous, biting satire about 21st century working life in a global conglomerate.
Anyone who makes their living in the coalface of international capitalism (myself included) will easily relate to the doublespeak that is deemed normal in the modern workplace – the glib corporate talk, the cruelty disguised by feelgood chatter , the utter ruthlessness of the environment. Everyone is expendable. Staff are not people – they are assets and expenses. And the customer (played hilariously in the latter half of the play by the tantrum throwing Dominik Domresonski) is God.
It doesn’t have a linear narrative – it’s more of a surreal examination of present day office work.
The staging and lighting is impressive. The physical theatre on display is admirable, and the desperation and anxiety of the characters is recognisable.
The lack of a clear story-line becomes marginally problematic in the end section of the play, as it is not entirely clear what is happening, thanks to the frenetic pacing and abstract ideas on display.
That aside, it’s a very enjoyable piece of theatre, performed with great enthusiasm by the talented cast.
Saturday is the final show of this run. Go check it out.