Edinburgh Fringe 2015
At Insignia Asset Management Lucy is in charge of the photocopier, printer, scanner, shredder and binder. She’s starting to wonder how this fits into The Grand Scheme Of Things. One day Lucy rescues the abused office pot plant and her world begins to alter. Inside her high rise flat on the 24th floor, she starts to plant, cultivate and nurture her own personal wilderness.
Written and performed by Lucy Grace, this is a delightful tale of not quite coping with the 21st century. Lucy is responsible for the office hardware, the all-important photocopier, printer, shredder and binder. She feels confident in her small corner of the office – everything and everyone beyond that puzzles her. By dint of being the only one to volunteer she is now also responsible for the office plants, brought in to improve the quality of everyone’s working life, or so HR believe. However, not everyone appreciates them and Lucy has uncovered some serious abuse by Tanya involving scissors, so she takes the mistreated plant home. And gradually begins to withdraw from the world that baffles her as she creates a wilderness all her own in her high rise flat.
Grace is a very accomplished performer. She flicks into other characters in a blink and creates an entire world of unsympathetic corporate characters. She is particularly skilled at stillness from which she gradually introduces an extraordinary range of facial expressions. Her approach is warm and engaging as she addresses the audience directly, we feel entirely part of her world and understand completely the bafflement she experiences when asked how she sees her place in the Grand Scheme of Things. The audience warmed to her immediately and her character’s earnest and confiding manner had us chuckling from the start and laughing out loud soon after.
The venue is ideal in terms of size and the stage, although a little cramped, is neatly divided into office and home. As the story progresses the boundaries between the two become blurred as bits of office begin to link into the home space and the increasing wilderness takes encroaches into the office as Lucy’s alienation with the outside world and absorption with her wilderness increases.
Alienation and a sense of bewilderment is a thread throughout; her fantasies all involve making connections in which someone will say ‘I know what you mean’ – only they haven’t noticed her and they don’t. The story hints at a darker side in this search; it almost touches it but never quite goes there. Once she has retreated to her flat and begins to disengage with the world there is the potential to explore further the surreal world that she is creating for herself, complete with a remarkably well behaved pigeon, but she pulls back and the ending, whilst coherent in the context of the story is a little unsatisfying. I feel that this piece could develop further and really challenge us to think about our assumptions in the workplace, the extent to which the Lucy’s of this world are ignored and expected to fit into an often high octane and ambitious work settings. And the effect on the individual when they don’t.
Overall, this is a beautifully told story performed by a first class storyteller and a definite recommendation for anyone who enjoys this direct style of performance. You will be entranced.