If work is unbearable, add music

By Tim Moore
Special to The PREVIEW

Photos courtesy Doug Chapin
Brooks Lindner (Lawrence), left, Elizabeth Howey (Joanna), and Laith Scherer (Samir) are part of a hilarious cast of nine in Thingamajig’s “Office Space: The Musical,” opening Jan. 11 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

If you work in an office and you have not seen the movie “Office Space,” you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself.

If you work in the computer or “hi-tech” industry, then you should be double-ashamed.

Although classified as a comedy, it is actually more of a documentary for those in today’s corporate workforce and, quite frankly, an inspiration. Thingamajig Theatre Company takes things to a whole new level by adding song and dance to Mike Judge’s already brilliant script with their production of “Office Space: The Musical.” Opening on Jan. 11, and running through the end of the month, the group of nine actors cover an incredible amount of material and get major laughs along the way. All the best lines from the film are here and most are put to song and dance.

The premise of the musical is a show within a show. The second floor accountants of Dynacorp International decide to put on a musical version of their favorite film and hilarity ensues. The basic, surface-level plot of “Office Space” is relatively straightforward: the mild-mannered protagonist, Peter Gibbons, played by Tim Moore, despises his job at the computer software firm Initech. The audience is shown every detail of Peter’s work life, from the alarm clock shrieking, to driving in agonizingly slow traffic, to the daily electric zap he receives upon opening the door to his thoroughly sterilized, cubicle-filled workroom. We are confronted with an endless, impersonal sea of people, all working quietly in tiny cubicles, amid the electronic clamor of innumerable machines and illumined by stale fluorescent lighting. It happens to be a Monday, but patrons instinctively sense that what Peter has just experienced is remarkably unexceptional.

After observing his daily routine and watching him get hassled by several bosses over a mundane company regulation, comically brought to life in song and dance (“Stuck in a Rut”), Peter becomes a sympathetic, if not deeply relatable, character. But after a botched “occupational hypnotherapy” session, in which Peter is left suspended in a hypnotized state (“La, la, la song”), his outlook and behavior completely change. He disregards the alarm clock, hangs up on his girlfriend, ignores calls from his job, all while remaining completely unfazed and unapologetic. During a meeting with the “efficiency consultants” — a callous duo referred to collectively as “The Bobs” — Peter is told that his office comrades, Michael, played by Jarret Heber and Samir, spoofed by Laith Scherer, are soon going to be laid off, and his outlook takes another dramatic turn (“A Million Bucks”). He hatches a plot with Michael and Samir to install a virus in Initech’s computer mainframe that will deposit money into an account every day (“Thanks for Me”).

The audience soon learns that the virus was programmed incorrectly. Fully aware that this will be quickly discovered by Initech, Peter decides to take full responsibility for the plot (“Change”). He writes a letter of apology and returns the money under the cover of night, but, fortunately for him, the building burns down (at the hand of his comically strange co-worker, Milton — the side-splitting Mike Moran) the following morning.

The movie’s pithy tagline “Work Sucks” is remedied with this production’s answer: “Add music!”

Please do yourself a favor and go see it, preferably with co-workers. Failing that, a significant other, and use the line, “See honey, this is my life …” Watch their little eyes light up with understanding!

Thingamajig Theatre Company presents “Office Space: The Musical” Jan. 11-27.

This show contains adult content and is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets are on sale now by visiting www.pagosacenter.org or calling 731-SHOW.

This story was posted on January 10, 2013.