One of the saddest figures of postindustrial society must be the guy who prefers the office to his home. Sad, and a little bit creepy. That could easily describe Andy Bragen’s alter ego (a pacing, edgy David Barlow) in This Is My Office, his semi-autobiographical piece, produced by PlayCo, that doesn’t quite bring home the bacon.
The site-specific, quasi-immersive work grew out of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency that allotted empty offices to writers, and its premiere is hosted by chashama, which repurposes vacant real estate into arts venues. But if Bragen’s idea was to situate My Office in the kind of Wall Street high-rise it references, director Davis McCallum has implausibly settled for a cavernous, ground-floor gallery space in midtown. So be it: Barlow is left the task of conjuring up cubicles and conference rooms while we scoot after him on rolling desk chairs, the odor of burned coffee heavy in the air.
The bigger job, however, is swallowing the plodding, garrulous, finally weepy story of a son’s journey back to his father that begins with Bragen’s discovery that his dad once worked in the same office he is using to write a screenplay. Naturally, he decides to move in. Art may imitate life, but Bragen proves that private lives are better kept out of the office.