The staff of the Translation Centre in “Memorandum” are a fairly tight-knit trio. The laid back, appetite-driven, Otto Stroll is in apparently in charge, but the, perhaps, more dynamic Dr Alex Savant and Chairman Nellie, often move events forward – or at least onwards in a circular manner… All of them serve to frustrate both Gross and Ballas at various points in the play, though not necessarily deliberately, and, for me, they represent the type of workers who get on – energetically or otherwise – with the task in hand, and are quite happy to exist in their own little departmental bubble; they don’t, however, really think in any long-term or wide-reaching manner or do much, if anything, on initiative. In some ways, then, quite ideal employees, especially for a dictatorial manager (or deputy)… but, in others, the worst sort – can they be relied on, if things go wrong?
Leading on from my last blog post, another major idea explored wittily in Memorandum is leadership and management. What is good leadership? Who makes a good boss? Is it a person with ideas s/he is willing to drive through at any price, or one with emotional intelligence and an empathy with his/her employees? Linked to this, should the leader carry the weight of responsibility for everything that happens in his/her organisation – even the things of which s/he is unaware? (Should s/he be unaware of anything – or is that a weakness…?) Mr Gross, the Managing Director – as he often announces – has to grapple with these questions and more during the events of the play. He certainly has a busy few days!
It’s been a good weekend of rehearsals – two lengthy ones – all afternoon of both Saturday and Sunday – and it feels as if things are starting to come together. Lots and lots of photos have been taken, and today we also had a little filming done – not of the play, but of a few rehearsal moments and some interviews with the cast. I was interviewed too, and asked about why the play Memorandum resonates with me. There were lots and lots of answers I could have given, but I found myself talking about power and power shifts and people who don’t “play straight” and don’t reveal the games they are playing in order to achieve power. I’ve met a few people like that – haven’t we all…? In Memorandum, the character who most exemplifies all this is Mr Jan Ballas, the Deputy Manager of the company – at the start, at least. You’ll have to come along to see how his power playing works out for him… Here are a few pictures of him in action in rehearsal this weekend.