February 6th-8th 2019
8055 is an exploration of the self within bureaucracy. It tests out ideas about authority and incompetence. 55, 58, and 80 are all uselessly existing in a corporate space and 08 unwittingly enters their world. Using absurdist narrative, clowning and an array of objects the script develops a story line which is as funny as it is uncanny. Or put simply, it’s a play where a woman applies for a job.
Written by Oceana Cage Nzene.
Directed by Christopher Brown.
“Don’t take it too seriously, remember to treat it like a game, but most importantly remember it is not a game”.
"Oceana Nzene Cage’s 8055 is a clever Kafkaesque take on workplace bureaucracy. It follows 08 (no names, only numbers) on her first day in a new job. The whole experience is gloriously absurd from beginning to end.
Her new colleagues stave off boredom with colouring books, puzzles and occasionally bursting into song. Meanwhile, 08’s attempts to do something productive with her office time are blocked again and again by increasingly bizarre safety announcements (about the perils of everything from paper cuts to breathing air). [...] 8055 has its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Christopher Brown’s lively direction gives it strong visual appeal, with occasional arresting flashes of bright colours amidst the otherwise gloomy office environment populated by bored workers in dark trouser suits. There are also some ludicrous and eye-catching set pieces including a feverish ‘sneeze drill’, synchronised desktop yoga and a slo-mo mass brawl.
Cage’s writing is sharply funny and confidently distinctive. While it mines a rich seam of humour, there’s enough of an element of believability in many of the scenarios to give it meaningful bite. For instance, 08’s brutal and confrontational job interview may seem extreme, but you don’t have to look too far to hear of similar stories in real life. As one announcement cryptically proclaims, “Don’t take it too seriously, remember to treat it like a game, but most importantly remember it is not a game”.
Ensnared within a desperate and spiralling no-win situation, Brogen Campbell, Rose Walker and Kendal Boardman are hugely enjoyable to watch as the increasingly wide-eyed colleagues funnelled into a farcical frenzy. Zahi Wade injects a wonderful heightened haughtiness as their sadistic manager.""