by Kessa DeSantis
There is something unsettlingly and cynically satisfying about Roland Tec's RAPT. A Sly slap at the lack of corporate conscience and accountability, this satirical new work fits into the neat little niche of the off-Broadway play that could be going places. In fact, it already has. Originally titled BODILY FUNCTION, Tec's work has been awarded Top Prize at the 2000 Edward Albee Theatre Conference, and was also a finalist in the 2001 Eugene O'Neill Playwriting Conference. Now, making its world premiere at The Culture Project, Tec's work proves to be both timely and prophetic.
Be prepared to witness perhaps the most bizarre job performance review scene you could imagine as the fulcrum of the action in RAPT, a comical yet stern examination of the corporate climate and its ability to corrupt individuals. At this review, meet Superwoman Suzanne (the feisty Lisa Barnes) and her unsuspecting patsy, Donald, portrayed with restrained civility by Carl Palmer. The review gets increasingly bizarre, focusing on bathroom visits and water consumption, and then, it becomes surreal, as Suzanne's fantasies and memories interject themselves time and again. We meet her wicked Art teacher (Chris Arruda), his classroom nude model (Chris Pade), and Suzanne's ailing, suicidal husband (Bill Tobes). The action floats back and forth, it ebbs and flows, and as it does, Donald is seemingly drawn under. In the end, he is essentially forced to wed a woman he barely knows.
What?, you wonder. Let me introduce you to the peripheral tale of a married CEO in a decidedly physical relationship with a company employee. Let me introduce you to Carly (Cori Lynn Campbell) and Stryker (Tom Bozell). Let me introduce you to a pair of people who operate from an area of pure selfishness, and for whom consequences are someone else's concern. Welcome to the tapestry of RAPT.
Of course, I will not give it away, but the plot developments here are largely unanticipated. If you do not get to RAPT, at least remember Roland Tec. He's onto something.