Entertainment » Theatre

Gloria

by Will Demers
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Nov 28, 2018
Jennifer Mischley in the title role of "Gloria," at the Gamm Theatre through December 16.
Jennifer Mischley in the title role of "Gloria," at the Gamm Theatre through December 16.  (Source:Peter Goldberg)

Office politics and interactions sure have changed in the 21st Century. If the goings on of the fictional New York magazine in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' "Gloria" is any indication, then everyone is a backstabbing, two-faced opportunist with designs on ruining lives or knocking their coworkers out of the race forever.

The Gamm Theatre has relocated to Warwick at the previous home of Ocean State Theatre Company, and their second show in the new location packs a wallop. Jenkin's dramedy features a six person cast playing a variety of roles; four newcomers to the company breathe some life into a very modern story.

Centering on three assistants and one intern, the story starts with a cacophony of traded barbs between the protagonists, setting up the atmosphere of this very dysfunctional workplace. The intern arrives early every morning but wears headphones; one assistant barely works, preferring to shop or visit Starbucks, and the fact checker is an emotional wreck.

Rachel Walshe directs this tightly wound world with skill and takes this mostly younger cast to inhabit this dark world of magazine publishing in a riveting show. Jenkins' dialogue is pretty much what one would imagine younger people say to each other in the workplace, but it still rattles one to hear what's being said.

Newcomers first: Jordan Clark (Kendra/ Jenna) is the epitome of the up and comer with little to do. She is loud, cutting and self absorbed, and she is excellent. Jennifer Mischley (Gloria/ Nan) takes on the title role with a creepy realism, and skillfully switches gears to play Nan, a bubbly publisher having her first child at 40.

Gabriel Graetz (Lorin) is pitch perfect as the nerdy fact checker who is minutes away from a complete breakdown. Marc Pierre (Miles/ Shawn/ Rashaad) is spot on with all three characters; a great debut for this young actor. Returning company member Jeff Church is once again showing his versatility as Dean, the alcoholic assistant to Nan, and Devin, a disgruntled IT guy. Alison Russo rounds out the cast and provides a solid performance as Ani/ Sasha/ Callie.

The story is perhaps a cautionary tale about workplace relationships and the aftermath of some real tragedies. When these events strike, each character copes on their own terms, and it's truly fascinating to watch.

"Gloria" is less about the title character and more about how as professionals in any field, young or old, look to sort out their lives when disaster strikes. Jacobs-Jenkins verbose satire on the media was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and makes for a night of theatre that you literally cannot take your eyes off, nor will you forget the end of both acts.

"Gloria" is running through December 16th at The Gamm Theatre, 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, Rhode Island, 02886. For information or tickets, call 401-723-4266 or visit www.gammtheatre.org

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