Thespian Thoughts – The Memorandum – Theatre Review by Sandro Monetti


THE MEMORANDUM: “Czech this play out.”
Theatre Review by SANDRO MONETTI

Anyone who has ever worked in the corporate world will find plenty to wince at in this office satire by Vaclav Havel, the late president of the Czech Republic.

First produced in Prague in 1965, the crushing bureaucracy themes of the play still hold up remarkably well when presented in 2014 Santa Monica, California.

The storyline sees managing director Josef Gross ( a solid Bart Petty) discovering a memo on his desk which seems to be written in gibberish but which is actually the corporation’s new official language – Ptydepe – which all employees have to learn… or else.

When he protests, his ambitious deputy Jan Ballas (a show stealing Barbara Urich) plots to take his job, which she does, only to find herself out of her depth.

Meanwhile toadying employees like the prissy Hans (a fun and watchable Ewan Chung) toe the company line and get through their days by looking forward to the lunch breaks.

There have been some fun modern updates to the text – like a string of corporate tweets projected on the wall – but I wish there had been some cuts too. For an already long play starts to drag by stressing the same points
again and again when it should be finding the comic beats rather than returning to more corporate bureaucracy.


Written by Vaclav Havel

Translated by Vera Blackwell

Directed by Jen Bloom

Produced by Santa Monica Reportory Theater.

At Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Boulevard, Santa
Monica, CA 90403.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7.30pm until April 20.

Tickets $30, Seniors and Students $20.
Reservations: (213) 268 1454
Online ticketing: Santa Monica Rep

CAST: Bart Petty, Barbara Urich, Yael Berkovich, Bill
Charlton,Burl Moseley, Tania Getty, Sara Meyer, Ewan Chung, David Evan

Artistic Director/Producer – Eric Bloom

Stage Manager – Adrienne Johnson-Lister

Production/Projection Design – Sean T Cawelti

Costume Design – Maddie Keller

Lighting Design – Mike Stone

Sound Design – Andy Mitton

Publicity – Philip Sokoloff

Sandro Monetti
Sandro Monetti

Thespian Thoughts is a theatre review article on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production.

Pepper Jay Productions LLC
Pepper Jay Productions LLC

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