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LEC Department of Theatre Presents The Memo by Vaclav Havel

Opening October 13 and running for two weekends, the Theatre Department at Lake Erie College will present The Memo by Vaclav Havel. LEC Professor of Theatre and play director Jerry C. Jaffe describes it as dark comedy cross between The Office and Monty Python, The Memo provides a satiric look at office politics.

The Memo begins with the protagonist Mr. Gross (played by LEC alum Cameron Zona ’22) receiving a memo in a new language he cannot read. It turns out this language is called “ptydepe” and has been brought into the office by his Deputy, Ms. Balas (played by Jasmyn Vislovsky).

Like Alice in Wonderland, Gross goes on a journey into different offices and meets different eccentric characters as he struggles to keep his place in the office now driven by this mad language. He meets a ptydepe teacher played by local comedian Bill Benton, an academic played Chris D’Amico, a newly appointed chairperson played by LEC student Alice Madsen, and the head of a translation center played LEC Theatre major Vince Vitale.

Jaffe says he wanted to do this play now because the oppressive nature of the office politics “…seems to reflect some of the surreal divisiveness found in politics these days.” Also, the author Havel is not only known as a playwright and novelist, but in the 50s and 60s was an activist fighting for democracy behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia. In 1992, Havel was the first democratically elected president of the Czech Republic after the fall of communism.

The rest of the ensemble includes LEC alum Margaret Gatzke as the empathetic secretary Juliet, Shelly Lothman as office worker Shelley, Sean Scott of Balas’s assistant Cubes, LEC student Marisa Pahoulis as a member of the ptydepe class, and Eleanor Ramos as the secretive Josh. The ensemble also includes LEC students Giovani Monteiro, Janice Robinson, Abrar Ghazy, as well as community actor Terry Evitts. The set is being built by Vince Tose with assistance from LEC alum Julie Harter. Lights for the show are by Paul Gatzke. The stage manager is Abigail Marie, who last year appeared in the LEC production of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.

All performances are in the CK Rickle Theatre found in the Royce Hall for Fine and Performing Arts, with free parking on Gillett Street. This is a full-length comedy with an intermission.

A notice to audiences: this play includes some characters smoking on stage. Non-nicotine stage cigarettes will be used. The Memo is presented at no charge, although the Theatre Department accepts donations. Performance dates are Oct 13-22 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee October 16 at 2:00. Tickets are available through the college’s On the Stage ticketing web portal. Tickets per show are limited and reservations are required. Any other questions can be directed to Prof Jaffe at 440-375-7451.

“The Memo” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com

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