Get this; Lucy Prebble’s Enron is not boring. Come on, we’re talking about a nearly two and a half hour play rooted in economic concepts. At best one expects an education, at worst a dry college lecture. Enron certainly educates. The program alone comes equipped with a timeline and set of definitions to assist audience members in conceptualizing the headier economic terms. Yet the moment the show opens with the first of many clever visual metaphors, it’s clear Enron will defy expectations.
A witty, at times absurdist take on the rise and fall of the infamous energy company, Prebble’s script grounds the company’s actions in character development, right away supplying the audience with insight into how Enron ascended before crashing and burning. Marrying apt metaphor with stirring language, all based in realistic dialogue, Prebble provides Timeline Theatre’s capable actors with meaty roles.
The production itself explodes with unexpected moments, a fluid fight scene, clever costumes, and seamlessly integrated multi-media. Even scene changes, stylized and intricately choreographed provide a pleasurable diversion. Bret Tuomi as the “Caveat Emptor” espousing Jeffrey Skilling is less iniquitous, more misguided and brings significant prowess to bear. Prebble’s choice to appeal to Skilling’s relationship with his daughter (Caroline Heffernan) as a means to humanize him seems cliché, however Heffernan, appearing via video-screen, does characteristically fantastic work in regrettably brief scenes.
While the show misfired in New York, director Rachel Rockwell’s rendering hits all the right notes. No less cutting for its compassion, Enron’s incisive look at the people who comprise a behemoth contextualizes an epic 1990’s event still eerily pertinent today.