The Clinic, 1006 6th St. NW
Remaining Performances: Wednesday, July 14, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 18, 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, 7 p.m. Saturday, July 24, 1 p.m.
They say: ‘GS-14’ is a comedy about a fed-up government manager who decides to ignore all rules so as to get the job done. He tries to fire the lazy. He tells people unwelcome truths. He’s soon in fights with almost everyone!
Erin’s Take: Maybe you have to be a federal employee to fully appreciate ‘GS-14,’ a workplace comedy that’s purportedly about the inefficiency of government bureaucracy. Ben Fisler plays Hank, a government manager heading up a software project. In the opening scene we see Hank complaining about Evan, an unproductive employee, to Bonnie (Joycelene Fadlemola), the HR manager. Hank wants to fire Evan, but Bonnie cautions him that his efforts will be futile.
We’re all familiar with the notion of the cushy federal job that’s nearly impossible to lose, so Hank’s frustrations are amusing and have more than a hint of truth. Moreover, this is the first of a number of debates between Hank and Bonnie, and it’s a pleasure to watch Fisler and Fadlemola together onstage. Their witty repartee is the result of great chemistry and comic timing.
So the acting’s not the problem—the storyline is. Sure, it’s funny when Hank tells underling Megan (Sabrina Shahmir), “You’re young and pretty—deal with it.” But it’s also sexual harassment. And when he meddles with Megan’s marriage plans out of fear that she’ll become less productive? I’m pretty sure that’s grounds for firing anywhere. The play bills itself as a commentary on the inner workings of the federal government, but Hank’s behavior would be unacceptable in any professional setting.
See it if: Office Space is your favorite movie.
Skip it if: You prefer endings that are messy and ambiguous to those that are neat and tidy.