'Job' review: A stress test that feels like It's life or death

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, April 23, 2024

'Job' review: A stress test that feels like It's life or death
Sydney Lemmon, left, and Peter Friedman in “Job” at SoHo Playhouse in Manhattan on Sept. 5, 2023. In Max Wolf Friedlich’s nimble play, a crisis therapist tries to connect with a tech worker who is broken by her profession. (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

by Juan A. Ramírez

NEW YORK, NY.- “Job,” a tight, 80-minute play by Max Wolf Friedlich, is filled with so many ideas that it seems to expand beyond the walls of the tiny SoHo Playhouse where it opened this week. But claustrophobia sets in as, throughout one session, a young patient and an older hippie crisis therapist confront the turbulence of life in the belly of the cyberbeast.

As the play opens, the therapist, Loyd (Peter Friedman), is trying to soothe the agitated Jane (Sydney Lemmon), who is pointing a gun at his head. Stress has gotten the better of her, culminating in a smartphone-era calamity: A video of her breakdown at work went viral. No longer feeling safe and still clearly unwell, Jane nevertheless has an industrial-grade resolve to return to her job at a San Francisco Bay Area tech behemoth. This psychological evaluation will determine if that’s possible.

Loyd, quietly pleased by his reputation for handling lost-cause cases, begins to tease out her anxieties, but soon finds Jane’s preoccupations with the many kinds of violence committed worldwide a tough web to untangle — and to distance himself from.

As Jane, Lemmon captures the frenetic essence of a person overwhelmed, and ultimately paralyzed, by all the livestreamed killings playing repeatedly across a seemingly indifferent internet. Though a victim of her industry’s grind mentality, Jane doesn’t come off as a martyr: Her acid-tongued clapbacks and finger-pointing hardly feel excusable.

Lemmon searingly personifies her character’s contradictions on her own, yet the production, nimbly directed by Michael Herwitz, also dips into her overstimulated psyche, as when computer clicks trigger rapid successions of TikTok-like sensory overload, with Jessie Char and Maxwell Neely-Cohen’s sound design blasting cacophonous drilling noises and porn sounds.

Although Friedman’s character is the more passive one, he imbues Loyd’s counterarguments with a genuine passion — intensely talking with Jane about our uneasy relationships to social justice, family, personal fulfillment and trauma in the cyber age.

As they unveil more about themselves, a late revelation nearly undoes the play by flattening the open-ended ethical questions it had so appealingly been posing. The play has to wrap up somehow, but this abrupt shift lands us in an entirely different genre.

Friedlich’s clever updating of the generational-divide format is not undermined by the play’s thematic vastness. And it’s refreshing to see characters who are not afraid of their intellect, or feel the need to condescend by slowing down their high-speed streams of life-or-death consciousness.


Through Oct. 15 at SoHo Playhouse, Manhattan; sohoplayhouse.com. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

September 24, 2023

Croatian museums return art looted during Holocaust to Jewish heir

Erwin Olaf, photographer with an eye for the theatrical, dies at 64

The creative world of 'Choi Myoung Young: Controlled Monotony, Infinite Variations' at Almine Rech Paris

María Magdalena Campos-Pons lets the spirits guide

SOM debuts installation of Zero-Carbon Bio-Blocks at 2023 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Lyn Liu joins Kasmin

Flying Cross awarded to highest scoring Jewish ace of the Great War to be sold at Noonans

Brainless jellyfish demonstrate learning ability

Stephenson's Auction invites collectors to explore the enchanting world of Dolls!, October 1

Thaddaeus Ropac presents a rarely seen series of photographs by Irving Penn

Phillips appoints Vy Tran as consultant, Vietnam

Extremely rare ring watch by Piaget sells for a hammer price of £18,000 at Noonans Mayfair

André Bishop to step down after three decades running Lincoln Center Theater

36 hours in Charleston, South Carolina

The biggest name in Hollywood turns 100

Review: Andrew Scott plays every part in 'Vanya.' Why?

Actors' Equity seeks to unionize Broadway production assistants

With 'Young Love,' Matthew A. Cherry weaves a warm Chicago tale

'Dead Man Walking' makes its way to the Met Opera

'Job' review: A stress test that feels like It's life or death

Progress in writers' strike negotiations, but no deal

How Sam Rivers and Studio Rivbea supercharged '70s jazz in New York

Emad Zand: A Biography of Crafting Excellence Through Creativity

Celebrating Life's Sweet Moments: Top Cake Ideas For Every Occasion

Mind-Blowing Birthday Celebration Ideas For Your Handsome Brother

Reviving Your Home's Beauty: Choosing the Right Rug Cleaning Company

Architectural Planning Services: Shaping the Future of Our Built Environment

Walking Without Heel Pain: A Comprehensive Guide to Happy Feet

Strategic Guide to Finding Women's Clothing Manufacturers

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful