Written and directed by Toshiki Okada, the three-part work begins with a trio of office temps (Riki Takeda, Saho Ito, and Fumie Yokoo) planning a farewell party for one of their co-workers. As each takes center stage, he or she moves in a stylized manner that sometimes seems derived from commonplace gestures, and at other times seems quite removed from everyday behavior.
Their monologues -- which are often quite funny -- use word and phrase repetition in a deconstructive manner reminiscent of the works of Gertrude Stein. (The text is spoken in Japanese, with English translations projected on the back wall of the set.)
The second segment of the show introduces two full-time workers (Mari Ando and Taichi Yamagata), who discuss political talk shows and the chilly temperature of the office in a similar fashion, although in addition, their conversation and movements gradually take on a flirtatious dimension. The final part is primarily a monologue spoken by Erika (Kei Namba), the employee who has just lost her job. There's more of a straightforward narrative progression to her speech -- at least compared to those of the other characters in the play -- but the stylized movements continue.
The entire cast commits wholeheartedly to the action, with the most impressive physical work coming from Ito and Yamagata. The piece, as a whole, blends humor and cynicism, which proves to be a very potent mix indeed.
-- Dan Bacalzo