Slave to the grind
The Typographer’s Dream
It’s the ultimate career day gone wackily astray as a typographer, a geographer and a stenographer reveal far more about themselves than about their work in this funny, thought-provoking play by Adam Bock. Under Capital Stage founder Stephanie Gularte’s precise direction, The Typographer’s Dream is tightly paced and perfectly timed, while retaining the spontaneity of a quickly put together panel discussion. It takes a lot of work to seem as off the cuff as this play does.
From the moment Dave (Peter Mohrmann), a self-effacing stenographer, wheels his steno luggage up to take his place on stage, the audience is part and parcel of the interplay of the characters. Dave is soon joined by Annalise (Saffron Henke), the hyperactive geographer, and Margaret (Gail Dartez), the sensitive typographer. The characters speak directly to the audience about their jobs and, eventually, their relationships.
The rapid-fire dialogue is self-revealing without being very self-aware, and The Typographer’s Dream invites the sort of awkward laughter we’ve become accustomed to from reality television (not to mention The Office). Self-justification is the name of the game, but as the discussion progresses, it quickly becomes an open-ended search for order and meaning in life. Are we our jobs? For some of us, the answer is obviously yes, but why do we feel the need to be defensive about it? And how much bearing does our choice of occupation have on what we’re trying to hide about our own lives and what we’re trying to avoid revealing about ourselves?
Though each character is self-involved in her or his own way, their interplay makes them easily sympathetic. They are so easy to identify with, in fact, that the three of them make The Typographer’s Dream a comedy with an uncomfortable, underlying question: How much—and what—am I deceiving myself about?