Occupied


It’s a strange feeling to see a stage that looks too much like how my brain feels, and love a show that made me laugh so honestly at my own life.

?Theatre Works
RAG Theatre

Saturday 10 October 2009

It’s a strange feeling to see a stage that looks too much like how my brain feels, and love a show that made me laugh so honestly at my own life.

RAG Theatre’s Occupied is for everyone who has ever endured a day in an office.

Cheap desks, IKEA bins, old computers (with holographic smiley face stickers), coffee cups, attempts at recycling, folders and chairs that spin create a design that makes the clutter look almost beautiful; if it wasn’t for the clutter.

Starting slowly and ritualistically, five ‘workers’ (Carla Mitterlehner, Marjetka McMahon, Jo Sloggett, Melissa Tauber and Fur Wale) remind us that our worship of money is what makes us enter offices –  places that thrive on unnecessary chaos, but ultimately chip away at our souls though boredom.

Under the steady direction of Scott Gooding, Occupied, was devised by the current RAG Theatre ensemble (RAG was formed in 1993) though workshops. The resulting series of vignettes about the ‘madness’ of offices strip away the pretence of these environments and let us laugh at their absurdity.

 “You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps.” There isn’t a workplace where this sign doesn’t appear – and everyone hates it because it’s true. The repetition of this cliché and the examples of the madness that the office life leads to were so familiar and so ridiculous at the same time. Who hasn’t moved the stuff on someone’s desk to bug them or tried to do yoga in their chair?

There’s little dialogue, because work conversations are all the same and don’t say much anyway. The official ones are filled with ‘buts’ that blame other people (with some of the best outrageous excuses ever), while the casual chats are filled with untruths and a just a bit crude.

Occupied’s honest and hilariously accurate depiction of boredom sent me back to every job where I stamped my fingernails, wore an envelope as a hat, looked around the room through a postal tube telescope, built a folder house for my desk toy (that was there to cheer me up), wondered what those bitches were talking about behind my back or just wanted to climb under my desk and cry.

RAG Theatre, you are my type of people – thank you for reminding me why I never want to work in an office again.

Until 25 October, 2009

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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