Lucy Prebble’s Enron, a satiric dramatization of the rise and fall of the now infamous Texas-based energy company, closed way too early when it ran on Broadway.
I can see why. I’d think most people in the city for a night out want to escape reality and not want to a true account of greedy businessman getting one over on the American people. Hopefully though, as the show is performed at regional theater companies, like Moxie Theatre here in San Diego, it’ll finally get the audience it deserves.
The story focuses on Jeffrey Skilling, who went from mid-level manager to CEO of Enron. He came up with a brilliant plan to sell shares in things that weren’t even available yet. To sell ideas, not tangible items. And he and the company were making a killing. But, as profits started to fall, he turned to his partner in crime, Andy Fastow, to create shadow companies to hide all of the mounting debt. And it worked perfectly too… until it didn’t.
The story is massively complex but Prebble’s way of telling the story is easy to understand and she makes it incredibly entertaining along the way. In fact, the show, directed by Jennifer Thorn, clocks in at 2 ½ hours but you wouldn’t know it by how fast it seemed.
Max Macke (Skilling) and Lisel Gorell-Getz (Claudia, Skilling’s nemesis in the company) are terrific. Macke anchors the show and, as he’s in almost every scene, he keeps things flowing and interesting. As the play progresses, you can see his desperation creep in and watching this weasel sweat is true fun. Gorell-Getz’s Claudia is no angel but in this den of devils, she’s the closest thing to a hero we’ll see all night.
After all this praise though, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the rest of the cast. It felt like they were off their game. Some line readings were stale and the acting wasn’t on par with what Moxie usually delivers. The night I saw the show, the a/c was on the fritz and the theater was toasty. It got even worse as the show went on, so I’m betting that was a contributing factor. As a whole, they lacked energy. Thankfully, Macke and Gorell-Getz were there. When you give some people the ball and tell them to score, they do and Macke and Gorell-Getz do just that.
Enron runs at the Moxie Theatre until December 7th. For tickets and more information, click here.