Americana Ad Absurdum Productions certainly lives up to its name by combining America’s most-loved export, free-market capitalism, with some surreal and absurdist humour. Imagine Glengarry Glen Ross written by Eugene Ionesco and you’ve got an idea of the kind of rapid-fire dialogue that ends up folding in on itself, weighed down by the characters’ reliance on finance jargon that doesn’t mean anything in the real world let alone the world of the play.
It’s OK to care about other people but everything in moderation
Writer Brian Parks paints an evocative portrait of the finance world with the characters’ nonsensical macho bravado, unchecked arrogance and blind worship of money and free-market economics placed centre stage. All of this belies a deep insecurity about the stability, viability and future of not just their careers but their entire ideology and belief in an industry that is spiralling out of anyone’s control. There’s a clear sense that everyone is only looking out for themselves, willing to do anything to get ahead which results in some hilarious one-liners that, worryingly, you could imagine the current President of the United States saying in complete seriousness.
It certainly makes sense to utilise absurdism to try and make sense of this ridiculous reality we currently live in but, given the current state of affairs in the world, much of the satire is rendered either out of date or simply lacking enough bite to actually make an impact. When one character says “It’s OK to care about other people but everything in moderation”, it’s much tamer and more generous than a satire about the business world ought to be. Additionally the overall production is very staccato, with many short scenes interrupted by slightly too long blackouts and many of the punchlines failing to land. Overall Enterprise is an amusing show that ends up presenting a more favourable version of reality rather than effectively satirising the one we live in.