Enron by Lucy Prebble opened at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2009, transferred to the Royal Court Theatre to the Noël Coward Theatre in 2010 where it was a huge success. Enron also opened in America Enron premiered on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on 8 April 2010 in previews, with the official opening on 27 April.
Enron lets the viewer into the bubble of Enron and explores the prism that is creates for itself. Naturally the only way to get the audience out is to burst that bubble. The writing is excellent. There are full sweeping speeches that examine the intricate details of finance and the company whilst making these details accessible to the audience. Anyone I know will tell you that money, maths or business are my major weaknesses, and yet I enjoyed reading this play a lot. The large speeches are offset by small, quick dialogue between Lay and Roe or Skilling and Farlow, the play continues interchanging these modes of dialogue, the effect is that the audience is kept alert, waiting and on edge to see how the play will settle itself. Spoiler: it won’t, it continues until the en to interchange. This effect mimics the development of Enron in the play, how it shifts around to transform and emerge only to transform again until the end of the play.
I particularly enjoyed the chaos. I Youtube-d the play so that I could see how the play moved. The blend of dance and music, of projection and theatricality seemed the perfect way to represent what really happened when the biggest oil and gas company of America fell.
The characters are formed very differently, at times you like them and at times they seem very transparent but it is the blend of the faults of each character that reflect the whole of the play. Unfortunately I was only about … 10 when Enron fell so I am coming to this play from a completely different perspective with only the hindsight of the credit crunch to fall back on as my experience of what it’s like to see a company fall. With Enron being the biggest and first company to fall it feel weird to think that wasn’t the norm ten years ago.
The play does a great job of presenting the size of the crash for Enron, I think this is a great credit to the play and another reason that the media’s are mixed so much. I don’t think that theatre alone could have represented it so well. The whole play has a grunge / fringe feel about it, mixed with the office setting and the suit’s it shows just how innovative the ideas where and how much they were playing with the future. The fringe feel allows the Prebble to stretch her voice past theatre and into the larger question.
You can watch the trailer for the play HERE
You can also read more about Lucy Prebble and 4 other contemporary playwrights in a piece I’ve written for For Books Sake