Annie Weisman's one-two punch in California ends Oct. 21 at South Coast Repertory Theatre, when the second of her recent world premieres, Hold Please closes on the company's Second Stage. The women-in-the workplace comedy began performances Sept. 18. A few weeks before Hold Please, Be Aggressive, Weisman's cheerleading comedy, premiered at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse.
Tessa Auberjonois (daughter of Rene) and Linda Gehringer (who starred in Weisman's Be Aggressive) play two women on opposite sides of the women-in-the-workplace issue. Gehringer as Grace is proud of the battles she's fought and will still fight for equality on the job, but Auberjonois' Erika, new to the world of answering phones at a large firm, has no appreciation for rampant feminism at work. The older Agatha (Kimberly K. King) and newbie Jessica (Jillian Bach) support Grace and Erika, respectively, as all four reveal their personal demons, their relationships with men and their takes on working world ethics.
In Playbill On-Line's Aug. 14 Brief Encounter with Weisman, she described the play thusly: "Hold Please is the story of two generations of female office workers: middle aged-women who are career secretaries, and women in their twenties who are entry-level "assistants" who see themselves as having growth opportunity in the company. I'm interested in the ways that I think women create and perpetrate what we often see as male-generated sexism in the workplace. I'm interested in how sexual politics play themselves out among the supposedly disempowered. It's the story of the micro-world of office power plays — the politics of the copy machine, the break room, the coffee creamer, etc. "
Auberjonois' Off-Broadway credits include The Vortex, Trainspotting and Uncommon Women & Others at the Lucille Lortel. Coming staright from Be Aggressive, Gehringer appeared in South Coast Rep's Good as New, Arcadia, But Not for Me, All My Sons and A Delicate Balance. King performed in Broadway's James Joyce's The Dead and in the New York and national touring productions of Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
Mark Rucker directs. A regular South Coast Rep helmer (Art, Amy's View, The Summer Moon), he will direct the West Coast premiere of Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle later in the year. Hold Please opens Sept. 18. Tickets are $19-$52. South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. For reservations, call (714) 708-5555. South Coast Repertory is on the web at http://www.scr.org.
For more of Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter with playwright Annie Weisman, visit http://www.playbill.com/cgi bin/plb/feature?cmd=show&code=+108492.
— By Christine Ehren