How far would you go to land the job of your dreams? Would you tell a lie? Manipulate or undermine your co-workers? Or both? Let yourself be manipulated?
All of these questions are asked as the characters in The Gronholm Method strive towards new levels of ruthlessness in a bleak high-rise world.
Written originally in Spanish by Jordi Galceran Ferrer and translated by Anne Garcia-Romero, The Gronhom Method is a biting satire on the modern corporate ladder that unfortunately doesn’t seem too far from reality. The razor sharp language maintains its impact through the translation into English and rapid dialogue is delivered with comic aplomb.
In a non-descript corporate office four applicants are pitted against each other in pursuit of the ultimate job. Frank (David Whiteley), Rick (Shane Nagle), Melanie (Karen Sibbing) and Carl (Jay Bowen) endure systematic manipulation and increasingly sinister ‘games’ in an attempt to eliminate each other from the running. The action unfolds in real time as the sun fades on the city through the high rise window and cold glass doors seal the applicants inside. But everything is not as it seems as their individual motives and identities are gradually uncovered and the action draws to a chilling climax.
Director Nadia Tass has produced an increasingly tense production with four large personalities in a small space, creating a sense of claustrophobia. All four demonstrate emotional range and have the chance to explore scope in their characters. Whiteley in particular, relishes the role of the odorous Frank, garnering disgust from the audience in his cold blooded attempts to reach the top.
There is a vast amount of text in the work with not much space to breathe, literally or metaphorically. The audience can feel bombarded at times and it would have been a relief to have a brief aural respite to reflect on the action at hand. However the close proximity draws us in to the action as the applicants become increasingly cruel and calculating. Visually the production was underwhelming as the relentlessly naturalistic staging was maintained through the duration. Perhaps as the more bizarre elements of the testing emerged, the action should have become equally non-naturalistic, edging towards more surreal, psycho drama territory.
The Gronholm Method is intended to be an extreme and far-fetched example of psychological testing and character profiling gone mad. But personality and aptitude tests are used by many organisations to screen potential employees and as the use of online social sites such as Facebook and Myspace increase, so does the potential for corporations to undertake invasive investigations into their employees personal lives. In this way The Gronholm Method perhaps doesn’t represent a biting satire of the present, but an alarming representation of a future reality.
Red Stitch Actors Theatre presents
The Grönholm Method
by Jordi Galcerán Ferrer | Translation by Anne García-Romero
Directed by Nadia Tass
Venue: Red Stitch | Rear 2, Chapel Street St. Kilda East
Dates: 9 June – 10 July, 2010