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(Posted 1:30 p.m., July 12)

East End Theatre production offers satirical look at office politics
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The East End Theatre production of 'The Roof Top Guy' and "The Three Hole Punch" features a number of local actors including Hayden Smith and Martie Lord who play Jason and Gail in 'The Roof Top Guy'. Fred Sherwin/Photo


As someone who has never worked in an office environment, or the federal government in particular, I can only guess at the level of office politics and bizarre interpersonal dynamics that can often take place on a daily basis.

I’ve heard stories, of course, from friends who have either been the source or target of some of the problems, but I have never witnessed it firsthand until I went to see “The Roof Top Guy” and “The Three Hole Punch” being presented this week by the East End Theatre company at the Orléans Theatre on Centrum Boulevard.

While the two plays are being presented as a double bill, they are actually two plays set in the same office and revolving around the revered three-hole punch. Together they offer a satirical look at interpersonal relationships pervasive in many offices and government offices in particular.

In “The Roof Top Guy”, Gail and Jason hear through a rumour that a co-worker named Dave has jumped off the roof and committed suicide.

Within minutes of hearing the news, Jason hatches a plan to raid Dave’s office and Gail reluctantly goes along with the idea. Besides taking Dave’s three-hole punch, Jason also makes off with his prized collection of fish figurines.

But in the second scene we find out that Dave is not really dead as he laments the fact that his co-workers pilfered his office before checking to find out whether the rumour was true or not.

In the next scene, Gail begins to regret what she’s done but Jason won’t hear any of it. In the meantime, Dave starts to lose it. He goes to see a psychiatrist and spills his guts about his failed marriage, sense of loneliness and other issues. We also learn about his obsession with fishing.

When Gail finds out about Dave she goes to visit him in the psychiatric ward and apologizes for her actions she also comes up with a plan to get back at Jason. She tells him that Dave stepped in front of a bus wearing only a pair of pajamas and was struck and killed.

At this point, Jason starts felling guilty and blames himself for Dave’s downturn and unfortunate “death”. In a reversal of character, Gail is the callous one, telling Jason that it’s not his fault and that Dave was mentally imbalanced all along.

In the final scene Dave returns the items he took from Dave’s office just as Dave makes a miraculous recovery.

In “The Three Hole Punch”, Lucy the secretary comes up with a plan to try and catch Jason, who she suspects has been taking things from her desk including her cherished three hole punch.

During the play we’re introduced to her boss Dick Boddington, who’s obsessed with butterflies. We also meet her friend Cindy, who’s obsessed with Soap operas. Know that I think of it, almost every character in the two plays is obsessed with something or other and their obsessions prevent them from actually getting anything done. The only productive person in the lot is Gail.

In writing the two plays, John Cook wanted to shine a light on how insensitive certain people can be even when they work within two cubicles of each other. The result is extremely entertaining, even if it is unsettling at times.

Anyone who has ever worked in an office environment will likely see many of their co-workers in the characters, and possibly even themselves.

The cast is made up of a small group of actors who have come up through the local theatrical ranks with both the Orleans Young Players and Vintage Stock Theatre.

Martie Lord plays Gail, Jason is played by Hayden Smith, Karine Longpré plays Lucy, Rod Davison plays Dick Boddington, Sarah Benfield plays Cindy and John Cook plays Dave.

The play is directed by Marni Hunt Stephens who has been involved in local theatre for years and previously directed the East End Theatre production of “Wild Guys”.

“The Roof Top Guy” and “The Three Hole Punch” run until Saturday, March 4 . Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. and the admission is $15 per person.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

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