Gardenia Duran Staff Writer
The State Theater in Downtown Olympia hosted yet another wonderful production directed by David Hlavsa. Vaclav Havel’s original production “The Memorandum,” re-enacted by SMU’s Theatre Department, was a comedy revolving around a very serious issue: communication.
The office is running a conspiracy against the managing director Mr. Gross, played by Joshua Benefield, with a push to leave natural language behind. Instead of using the language learned from home, the office would communicate in a new synthetic language, Ptydepe. As Deputy Director Ballas, played by Emilie Schnabel, runs Gross out of his position, Gross struggles to accept Ptydepe.
While Gross struggles to maintain a job because of his failure to learn Ptydepe (and because of Ballas’s conspiring to oust him), the office faces troubles of its own. Stroll, Head of the Translating Center who is played by Ryan Miller, along with Savant, a Licensed Ptydepist who is played by Jalen Penn, and Helena, the Chairperson played by Olivia Baumgartner, create a mischievous environment. Ballas falls into the trenches of these three, realizing that Ptydepe does not work. Especially when she is trying to read paperwork she can’t understand!
Meanwhile, those more serious about Ptydepe take classes from Lear, played by Alyssa Melder. Lear is an interactive professor that engages the audience while trying to teach Ptydepe as fast as she can talk. Ironically, the only student following diligently is Patricia Thumb, played by Grace Caruso, the A+ star of the class.
As the office mayhem exacerbates, Gross jumps from being fired to working as security specialist, and finally back to his original job. And this is all occurring because of the consuming mess that Ballas, along with her silent assistant Pillar, played by Lauren Hendrickson, created with Ptydepe.
In a moment of desperation, Gross discovers that office assistant Maria, played by Nicole Fernandez, can translate his Ptydepe memorandum, the cause of his career’s problems. With Georgia, a Security Specialist (played by Mandy Baker, listening in on Maria’s translation, the safety of Maria’s job is now questionable.
Pillar is spending a lot of time with the mischievous trio Stroll, Savant, and Helena. As time progresses in the office, Ballas realizes Pillar has been manipulating the office all along, and shortly after being discovered Pillar shoots himself. Column (also played by Hendrickson) then takes Pillar’s place.
With the death of Ptydepe, Chorukor is born. Unlike Ptydepe, which focused on no word in the language sounding the same, Chorukor focuses on all words being based on similarity. The office had a new synthetic language yet again. And as mentioned before, not only did Maria receive the wrath of the office but was escorted, with knives and forks in their hands, by her co-workers as they prepared to ‘eat her alive’ for her misbehavior.