BUSINESS by David Furlong
Comissioned and produced by Alexandre Liaume for Medialex
Based on an idea by Alexandre Liaume
Translated into English by Emma Green
Executive Producer: Fanny Dulin for Exchange Theatre
‘This play is important because it deals with questions we all think about’ Fringereview.
“It’s an English man, a French man and an American stuck in an airport in Siberia. It starts like a joke” (Hervé, Scene 2 of Business.). As in every funny story, we are going to look for the differences between those three men, unwillingly displaying all the well known clichés about themselves. But quickly, the audience comes to realise that there is not so much difference between these three Westerners, apart from their jobs and the detail of their nationalities : there is Hervé, the French fashion photographer, Tony, the English white-collar worker in auditing and business, and finally, Patrick an American representing international business. What unites them is not just the mysterious chance that all aircraft are grounded that night, but that they are all businessmen in their own different ways. All three of them, the fruits of globalisation and of Western society at the beginning of the 21st century, recount another story, less funny than seems at first: how they and their civilisation have evolved, with arrogance and cynicism and losing all trace of sensitivity.
Business was launched by Alexandre Liaume, the producer of Medialex who comissioned the play to David Furlong. The idea was to make a comedy about an American, a Frenchman and an Englishman meeting in an airport. Drawing on recent popular success in Comedy such as Francis Veber’s « See you next Tuesday » or « Art » by Yasmina Reza, Business was then written as a “comédie de moeurs” in the same tradition of Tom Stoppard or Christopher Hampton.
In the process, the playwright felt as well the potential of putting on a show which could be highly relevant nowadays. The setting of the action itself, an airport, was so relevant to today’s world and the play was deeply related to international history…
Exchange Theatre Company joined in with the will to tackle the piece as a devised show and make it a highly sensorial experience. Inspired by contemporary works by French Canadian director Robert Lepage or Deborah Warner in England, the production of Business uses images, lights and sound effects as fundamental parts of the show. The team (composed by ETC’s sound engineer, lighting designer, production designer and the director) creates together a very contemporary performance, in order to take the public through a journey inside the play, and not as simple audience members.