One thing you should know before seeing GS-14, now playing at the Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington, DC, our government is not a terrorist organization. At least I don’t think it is. Still, it does make you wonder: Why in the world would a government manager spy on one of his own team members and what would he possibly gain from interrogating a lower level employee and bribing her to get information? Hank, played with the steadfast scrutiny of a closet CIA agent, by Ben Fisler, immediately takes us into his world of power point presentations and software wars.
Hank, lusting to move the do nothing hanger on-er, Internet browsing employee into early retirement, bargains, negotiates and attempts to bribe, mediator/counselor Bonnie, played energetically by Shirley Augustine. Megan, played by Ariana Almajan with youthful rebellion layered atop distressed maturity, is about to make a mistake. At least that’s what Hank thinks. Wait… that’s what I think, too! Derek, the fiancé in question, played by Sean Perry, has an eye on nights out with the boys and leaves little doubt about his success as a future husband.
But wait, there’s more to this government intrigue. Hank, during a crunch period of necessity, hires Theo, a cross dresser who is assigned to a “night shift only” work schedule. Theo, played by Kenny Littlejohn, is a master of creating subtle power. Littlejohn’s portrayal is filled with revelations that beg questions above and beyond his government position. How do we judge people — by gender, by appearance or by self- identification? Littlejohn moves throughout the role of Theo with sophistication and purpose teaching us more about ourselves than we could ever imagine.
Minimal set design places a table and two folding chairs against a dark curtained performance area. Humor bounces from inside jokes on government red tape and rescued programs.
There is wonderful direction by Alex Fraser. Alden Michels and Frank Mancino offer convincing performances as Hank’s colleagues-in-files. No matter what you think of government bureaucracy, you will have to admit that humor and truth work well together in GS-14. As for those who work in the government ranks, Hank says it best, “You can tell a lot about people by how they treat janitors.” I believe that…
Running Time: 90 minutes
GS-14 information and tickets.