Review: Surreal Comedy ‘Enterprise’ at the Brick in Williamsburg
By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, February 7, 2017
Currently in residence at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is Enterprise, a surreal comedy about a large company suddenly on the brink of collapse, and the desperate attempt by four panicking employees to save it, along with their futures. The characters engage in silly shenanigans trying to save the company, including emergency proposals, email hacking, an animal sacrifice, a radical theory about the Ottoman Empire, among others.
Playwright Brian Parks’s previous works have been presented at the International Fringe Festival here in New York, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as in various foreign countries. The current production is fast moving, telling the story in rapid-fire quick scenes in an almost cinemagraphic style, with some scenes lasting only one minute. Because of the surrealistic style of the play, several of the events and actions are not completely logical, and there are frequent unusual verbal juxtapositions. Expert lighting marks the opening and closing of each successive scene, with many scenes full of non-sequiturs and nonsensical verbal sparring.
The actors deliver many humorous lines, sometimes completely tangential to the story; one particular discussion involves the shape of paper clips. When one character contemplates adopting a life philosophy, another sagely advises: “Choose wisely—the wrong philosophy will cook you into a stew of doubt and debauchery.” Similarly, later when a character asks if another has ever met a tragic heroine, they respond with “They smell like perfume and oncoming locomotive.” Unfortunately, due to the fast-paced action of the play, the actors don’t always provide enough time for all the jokes to land.
Enterprise, presented by Gemini CollisionWorks and The Brick Theater, Inc., 579 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, through Saturday, February 18, 2017. By Brian Parks. Directed and designed by Ian W. Hill; costume design by Kaitlyn Day. Cast: Fred Backus, Adam Files, Derrick Peterson, and Alyssa Simon.
Cover: Fred Backus and Derrick Peterson in ‘Enterprise;’ photo: Ian W. Hill.