Push Up

Chris Lewis and Lynden Jones in ‘Push Up’

With German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play ‘Push Up’(translation by Maja Zade), the Hayes Gordon Repertory Theatre (HGR), a company formed for Ensemble theatre graduates, has chosen the work of a fine writer to showcase their talents. An Award-winning playwright, Roland Schimmelpfennig is regarded as one of the most exciting voices in European drama, and is currently writer in residence at the Deutscher Schauspielhaus in Hamburg.

‘Push Ups’ is set within the headquarters of an expanding corporation. The play explores the sexual and political manoeuvrings within the company, depicting a cut-throat world that can best be described as running on a mix of Darwinian and Machiavellian principles. A quote about the play from the British broadsheet the ‘Sunday Times;’ sums up this world well, ‘Under the tough-guy, office-bitch presentation lies fears and insecurities, the panic of being overtaken’.

Schimmelpfennig’s tells his hollowness of corporate life story eloquently. In five sequences of varied length, he deftly juxtaposes the characters working and private lives, with the play seeing the characters making intimate, direct addresses to the audience.

Nicole Selby’s production serves Schimmelpfennig’s play well with all the cast giving clear, focused performances. Anna James and Chad Richards feature in the play’s sharpest scene, as two co-workers who find it impossible to work with each other after once having had a sexual dalliance at a work happy hour.

A feature was Tom Bannerman’s deft, compact staging. The setting is deceptively basic to begin with, featuring a conventional executive office with desk and chairs but then ‘the blinds’ lining the back wall of the stage come into play later opening up to reveal an office party in full swing.

A good production of a fine piece of writing, ‘Push Up’ plays the Newtown theatre, corner King and Bray Street, Newtown until Saturday 10th July, 2010.

19th June, 2010