ASSISTANCE

By Leslie Headland
Directed by Trip Cullman

Playwrights Horizons, NYC

Sets by David Korins
Costumes by Jessica Pabst
Lighting by Ben Stanton
Sound by Jill B C Du Boff

Photos by Joan Marcus

“Disgruntled underlings serving abusive bosses are likely to be the most avid audience for “Assistance,” a comedy by Leslye Headland that opened on Tuesday night at Playwrights Horizons

In a Manhattan office below Canal Street, Nick (Michael Esper) and Vince (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) are celebrating Vince’s imminent rise from the lower depths of assistantdom to a real office and the title of director at the Weisinger Company. Bantering as they field calls for the absent big boss, Daniel Weisinger — it’s 8 p.m. on a Friday, clearly the middle of a workday — they take casual pleasure in remarking that a candidate for a junior job at the company has been waiting in the lobby for four hours. 

Trickledown cruelty is the first object lesson in the cutthroat world of Ms. Headland’s play. “I will personally rape your mother if you don’t get James on the phone, Nick,” Vince coolly says when a phone call Daniel is trying to place is delayed. We don’t hear the streams of vituperation coming from Daniel himself, who never appears in the play, but can deduce from the wilting, quailing and abjection expressed by his assistants that he has a facility for vulgar putdowns matched by few.”

Charles Isherwood, New York Times

link to review