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
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
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 -