The Here and This and Now: Is that all there is?

promo photo for The Here and This and Now (United Players production)

Pharmaceutical sales reps gettin’ crazy (Photo of Evangela Kepinski, Jessica Wong, Ishan Sandhu, and Matt Loop by Doug Williams)

Skip to the epilogue: the last five minutes of this production are by far the best.

There are two earlier sections. Each unit is distinct.

In Part 1, we witness a training session in which a sales manager named Niall coaches three pharmaceutical reps on how to make a sales pitch for a questionable liver-spot treatment. Theatrically, there are a passel of problems here. Number 1: the pitch is ridiculously long and its manipulativeness is so transparent that nobody in their right mind would fall for it. Number 2: The pitch is repeated, with slight variations, four times. Everybody onstage gets a crack at it. Time threatens to go backwards. Number 3: The criticism of big pharma in particular and sales in general is simplistic.

Two of the sales reps also have a philosophical discussion of sorts in Part 1. Robbie, who’s been with the company for a while, keeps saying that, in life, nothing changes, things never get any better: “I just don’t think anything makes much of a difference.” Gemma, who’s new and who’s falling for Robbie, offers counterarguments: She invites Robbie to imagine the impact of having a baby, for instance. Then Robbie repeats himself and the two of them go in circles.

Fortunately, both Ishan Sandhu (Robbie) and Jessica Wong (Gemma) deliver appealing performances. Sandhu’s Robbie is playful and responsive. Wong’s performance as Gemma is grounded and honest — persuasively straightforward. She also has a velvety voice. [Read more…]

Sign up—free!—

YEAH, THIS IS ANNOYING. But my theatre newsletter is fun!

Sign up and get curated international coverage + local reviews every Thursday!