Working Theater

Robert Arcaro, Artistic Director * Mark Plesent, Producing Director

In association with Timothy Haskell

Presents

Hold Please

by Annie Weisman

Directed by Connie Grappo

 

Blue Heron Arts Center

123 E. 24 St.

NYC

Tickets: (212) 206-1515 or www.smarttix.com

www.theworkingtheater.org

 

February 25 - March 30, 2003

 

Set Design: James Youmans

Costume Design: Ilona Somagyi

Lighting Design: Jack Mehler

Sound Design: Laura Grace Brown

Production Stage Manager: Damon W. Arrington

Press Representative: Publicity Outfitters, Timothy Haskell

 

Starring

Emma Bowers, Laura Esterman, Kathryn Rossetter, Jeanine Serralles

 

In what stands as one of the funniest new plays I have attended in a while, Annie Weisman’s ironic portrait of the modern office environment is served up with saucy speed in HOLD PLEASE. Filled with perky characters, snappy dialogue and situations that are humorous by virtue of being all too plausible, this peephole into the lives of four executive secretaries is a delight.

The action opens as the four co-workers hold a H.E.A.R.T. talk in the break room. Featuring a large, stuffed heart, and with rules that allow for the expression of feelings only, it is quickly clear that this feel-good chat is actually a meeting about alleged sexual harassment by one of the bosses. He is let go, but the sexual tension between the secretaries and the off-stage bosses has not dissipated, as covert romance continues.

It is these everyday, office politic subjects that Ms. Weisman’s script examines with such a keen and ironic eye. HOLD PLEASE observes the pc rules, places the characters in varying positions of obeisance, subversion, quiet consent or blatant time biding, and allows the action to unfold. Things muddle along, with the most major concerns being gossip and hidden dairy products until "the new guy" arrives in the form of a 24-year-old female consultant hired to eliminate redundancy in the secretarial pool. Jobs in jeopardy, the quartet of quirky characters pull out all the stops to survive.

The crisp script by Annie Weisman, paired with Connie Grappo’s snappy direction, echoing the pace of the dialogue, pushes HOLD PLEASE along with a strong, comic pace. Add in the four actresses, each of whom has defined herself as the role, and the whole production comes together.

Want to beat away those winter woes and grey day doldrums? Check out HOLD PLEASE. It is sure to make you smile, and you’re even likely to laugh out loud. I did.

- Kessa De Santis -

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