Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 1, 2013

The Interview

Monson Arts Council, Monson,MA
through June 9, 2013
by Jennifer Curran

“The Interview” is an original work written by local playwright Matthew Guthrie and directed by Kathleen Delaney. Set in a representation of an office, the premise of the play is a job interview. The intent of the writer is to deconstruct corporatism as seen through the eyes of the interviewee, The Man.

This production is stripped down to the basics. An almost bare stage, simple lighting, a small table, two chairs and a large rectangular arch made from unpainted, unfinished two by four’s frames the two characters at the table. Several video monitors are at the corners of the stage. It is clear from the beginning that this is not a realistic set and the play itself centers itself in the realm of experimental theatre. There are no characters here; there are archetypes of humankind. There is little story. Rather, the play attempts to use action without an obvious through-line to represent humanity at its best and worst. Corporatism is the villain here and humanity is its victim.

The highlights of the play are scenes in Act II where The Man (Owen Hayden) and The Woman Act 2 (Kate Johnson) begin to have a purpose: to create a list of questions for an interview. Their struggle to accomplish that simple task is exactly corporate America. Here, we finally get a sense of The Woman and why she is there, want she wants and what makes her tick.

Unfortunately, but for those few moments in Act II, the production simply doesn’t accomplish what it had set out to do. Due to the lack of a clear story-line, inexplicable lighting cues and awkward blocking, the audience wasn’t even aware of a killing on the stage or that the play had ended. The director cued us from the back of the house, “That’s it! That’s the end. You can go now.”

This is an interesting and earnest attempt by Michael Guthrie to question modern beliefs, our priorities, and the way in which we earn a paycheck. There is potential in this story and in moments, the writing is solid. There is just so many unnecessary elements here that rather than support the piece, they get in the way