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New Jersey Repertory Company presents 'middlemen'

Even a problem with the copier seems suspect at times
Even a problem with the copier seems suspect at times
NJ Repertory Company

A new play titled 'middlemen' began its run at the New Jersey Repertory Company Theatre in Long Branch, New Jersey on Saturday, November 9th. Written by David Jenkins and directed by Marc Geller, the play features two men who find themselves the sole survivors of a company in shut down mode. However, the situation they find themselves in doesn’t appear to bode well for them because it seems as though whatever actions occurred have resulted in Bolivia now being bankrupt!

The two men, played by David Friedlander (Michael) and Duncan M. Rogers (Stanley), are report writers in an everyday corporate setting. As the play opens, we learn that the last person other than themselves in their department “left” the evening before without a word to them. They notice a hole in the wall the exiting employee made in a fit of anger but strangely, the computer for that workstation has been confiscated. As the action progresses, we learn that everyone in the building is gone except for Michael and Stanley.

The two men begin to realize that the report they are compiling and due to complete that very day holds the answers to the question of what happened in Bolivia. They now are placed in a compromised situation where it seems like they will be the ones to account for actions taken by people other than themselves. They are truly "middlemen" as they didn't take the actions, but only took what was given to them and put it into a report. Their attempt to deal with the situation is both humorous and questionable at the same time. As they try to deal with their own fears and concerns, they also seek to answer questions that corporate warriors for years have been trying to answer like “isn’t there something I can do be doing for work that is more meaningful than this?” The ending gives hints of what might come, but it will be up to the viewer to determine how each character will end up coming out of this.

The play is billed as a comedy and it has many humorous moments in it. The humor is more situational rather than physical comedy and it is needed because the questions that the two men raise can be uncomfortable at times and bear a lot of similarity to those which have caused many problems in the workplace. The reactions and then ensuing actions taken by each man speaks volumes about how they view work and their own lives as well.

The set is a three desk office with open windows but a door that locks to each work area. The offices adjoin a coffee/lunch/break room which also holds copier. The look is basic work area but very sterile adding to the lack of staying power of the job and the company itself.

The show moves at a well set pace that keeps the action moving but also allows the audience to ingest what is occurring and how each of the characters is avoiding and then trying to reconcile the situation. Although there are only two actors who carry the entire show, the action and dialog are interesting enough to keep the audience on their toes throughout the entire 90 minutes.

The 'middlemen' production is scheduled to play at the New Jersey Repertory Company Theatre at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, New Jersey through December 8, 2013. Contact the NJ Rep Box Office at 732-229-3166 or visit www.njrep.org for tickets and/or more information.

To see more photos from this show, visit this section of Let's Go to the Theater.