written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins directed by Jake Staley

Staged Reading
Dates:  October 22 @ 7pm & October 23 @ 2 pm
Venue: Clark County Library, 1401 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Ticket price: Free

This darkest of dark comedies begins as a normal day for a group of Manhattan office-workers – aspiring writers who spend the majority of their time battling the monotony of their routines. But a sudden and surprising act of violence changes everything, forcing the group to come to grips with the very real effects of seemingly innocent office banter, personal ambition, and inter-cubicle feuds. This whip-smart satire about the cannibal culture of the American marketplace is guaranteed to keep you talking!

Director’s Note (from the program)

When I first read Gloria with A Public Fit in 2020, I swore I had lived this life before. Several parts of it anyway. This play takes place in New York City, a city I once lived in, and it is a cold, dark, abominable city. Who agrees with me? I need you to agree with me. How could anyone stand the constant struggle? The constant movement! The drudgery in traveling back and forth through endlessly uninspired streets, arriving home at four in the morning after working for twelve hours straight, now drunk, demoralized, and destitute … just to awaken a few hours later and realize this nightmare was seemingly endless. It felt like I couldn’t escape it. I still tried my best to manage the world and acquaintances around me. If only these people were better, if only they saw how brilliant I was, if only I could have some sort of ultimate validation of achievement in the performing arts, then I could truly be happy.

This was my narrative. This was the unequivocal truth about the way the world worked; I held on to it at all costs. It was comforting. It made sense to me. It felt safe. It kept me determined to never point the finger back at myself as the cause for any pain and suffering I was experiencing. I managed and bottled that message, pushing it deep down inside and blurting it out to others any chance I could for several years, even after I moved to Las Vegas. “New York sucks.”

Vegas would be different. But my narrative never changed. I found myself encountering the same wretched, contorted, and agonizing scenarios I suffered in New York. I could have sworn, or still swear it was New York’s fault. It’s the work culture’s fault. No, it’s the baby-boomers, it’s capitalism, it’s social media, it’s the climate, it’s the republicans, it’s the democrats, it’s my boss’s fault, it’s my parents (don’t worry, I don’t think they can make the show). But please, dear God, please don’t have it be me.

This narrative that the world needed to change led and often still leads me to suffer from entirely avoidable isolation (Miles), pride (Kendra), hypervigilance (Ani), debilitating fear (Dean), apathy (Nan), regret (Lorin), hopelessness (Gloria), and above all else: lack of objective truth about my own experiences. Fortunately, my narrative of the world was upended enough times for me to unsubscribe to most, if not all, fundamental notions I had about the world being the problem.

Sometimes life events shatter our realities; how we end up formulating and categorizing these events often contributes to whether we learn and grow from those experiences or fall back into the same, deeply rooted patterns of behavior. Unfortunately, far more often than not, the stories we tell ourselves keep us stuck.

How many times have we seen the events of this play unfold in the real world? How many times have we gone back to thinking “it’s not going to happen again,” “this is an anomaly,” or “this is who we are now”? We like to think our lives and the things happening to us are isolated instances. This isn’t the case, and it never will be the case. These stories are universal, these people are universal, and the experiences are universal. But we can keep repeating the same old narrative we’ve been telling ourselves, if it makes us feel safer.

– JS 2021