Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, April 22, 2010


It may have been a smashing success in London, but here in New York, a bit "closer to home" as they say, it probably won't fare as well.  The Brits probably enjoy laughing at our moments of weakness just a bit more than we do.  A monumental undertaking by playwright Lucy Prebble, Enron attempts (and quite frankly succeeds) at telling the story of Jeffrey Skilling and his downfall at the Company we all know as Enron.

As the play unfolded, she (and the actors) all did a remarkable job at keeping in "interesting".  Lighting, music, dance numbers, and sophisticated digital looking sets all contributed to the "wall street" atmosphere.  Norbert Leo Butz nailed Skilling.  Gregory Itzin and Stephen Kunken as Kenneth Lay and Andy Fastow both turned in remarkable performances.  Marin Mazzie was superb as one of the few fictional (or more correctly stated, composite) characters.

The trouble is - they wove a complex tale.  There was no hero to route for.  While your senses were being bombarded with business terms, facts, figures, and jargon - the story simply lacked anyone or anything redeeming in the end.  My personal feeling is that they could have "created" (i.e. taken literary license) a "whistle blower" (which, in reality would not have been that difficult as the real story had the makings of one anyway).

Overall - I (an accountant by trade) loved it, understood it, and appreciated what they had to say.  I am guessing that as brilliant as the storytelling efforts were, most people walked out of the theatre confused or angry at a time when the economy is once again in the toilet - hence resurfacing old thoughts of anger, resentment, and ill will towards corporate America in general.  At a minimum, some might wonder if Ben Brantley's mutual funds took a nose-dive the day before he reviewed it.