In Mathew Goldstein's smart and funny new script, well directed by Robert Dorfman, the story takes place entirely within the offices of the PR firm TopDown Strategies and centers on two young employees David (Pedro Juan Fonseca) and Kevin (Damian Leverett). The two are starting to be disgusted by the work that they do, which includes trying to improve the image of a rich CEO who poses nude for photos with animals he killed. Unfortunately, things only get worse from there, as the head of the company Mark (John Middleton) wants to start a coalition backed by corporations that seemingly is doing good in the world, but really is just a PR machine for the corporations. When corrupt landlords and Big Pharma aren't big enough, he goes after even bigger, more despicable entities and manages to come up with the biggest PR hurdle to date. For him and and his right-hand-woman Elaine (Joanna Harmon), it's all about the work and the money, with no moral quandaries. Hard-working employee Rebecca (Lynda Dahl) is a bit disgusted by the clients, but believes that doing well on this case will give her the career boost she needs to do what she really wants to do. But David and Kevin just can't stomach the idea, and decide to sabotage these clients, willing to sacrifice their jobs to do so. Unfortunately, like in The Producers, everything they do to make the project tank only makes it go well; they have underestimated the power of social media and a well-planted story to manipulate the public into believing something they otherwise wouldn't. Scary indeed!
|the cast of Groupthink (photo courtesy of Six Points)|
Wikipedia defines groupthink as "a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome." This play illustrates the dangers of that concept, which could refer to the culture within the PR firm, as everyone goes along with the work that they do, making bad people look good. It could also refer to the general public, and in particular, the ability of PR teams, political parties, celebrities, or cult leaders to manipulate groups of people into believing what they want them to believe, no matter what's actually true.