Walking into the Gremlin's new-ish space at Vandalia Towers (it opened a year ago), the accurate recreation of a typical office conference room gave me that feeling of boredom and dread that such work meetings engender. But trust me, what unfolds is way more entertaining than what usually happens in a room with an oval table surrounded by office chairs, a fake plant in the corner, drab gray industrial carpeting on the floor, a large white board, and little side table with water and snacks. A very familiar environment for anyone who works in an office, but hopefully not a familiar scenario (set and lighting design by Carl Schoenborn).
|just another day at the office (Nikhil Pandey, Peter Christian Hansen,
and Katherine Kupiecki, photo by Alyssa Kristine)
The fun begins when these employees, who are too smart for their own good, start to question what they've been told and what this project actually is. They start to posit theories, and then attempt to prove or disprove them (hence the repeated scribbling on the white board). They also start to distrust each other, thinking that others in the group know more than they do, and when one of the group seemingly disappears, suspicions grow exponentially.
|Ted, Brock, and Hannah report to the boss (Brian P. Joyce,
Peter Christian Hansen, and Katherine Kupiecki,
photo by Alyssa Kristine)
The word ideation is defined as "the formation of ideas or concepts." What starts as a typical workplace brainstorming session turns into something much more in this smart, funny play that is a cross between dark comedy, psychological thriller, and horror story. We have good reason to be paranoid these days, and it's healthy to question what we're told. But it's also wise to remember the unlikelihood of Scenario 1D, and realize that sometimes, maybe most of the time, V does equal 1. Or does it?!
Ideation continues at Gremlin Theatre through July 29. Now that it's summer, check out the food truck schedule at Lake Monster Brewing right next door for dinner and beer and a show (and remember you can bring their beer into the theater).
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.