by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Every year, there is at least one Tisch student who shares with me a play as their favorite book. Today’s read was Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ top-rated play Gloria. The character, Gloria, is a fifteen-plus-year veteran at the mid-town Manhattan magazine publication office. Many of the young staff leave this office to go on to outstanding careers in the field. Gloria is viewed as an awkward peer who is always trying to connect with her colleagues. The play begins the evening after Gloria hosts a party at her home that only one staffer attends. In the office, all other staffers make fun of Dean, the sole member who attended. He describes how uncomfortable he felt being there. The first act focuses on everyone’s crass comments regarding Gloria and how strange she is as a person. The act ends with Gloria walking into the office & shooting all of her colleagues! The rest of the play discusses how the owners of the magazine and those who survived the killings tried to produce books, screenplays, and TV pilots about Gloria’s killing of her office mates. There are some good soliloquies and character development, but the story for me is weak, reminding me of a BRAVO or WE Network movie. Maybe seeing it on stage might change my opinion, but I doubt it. The subject matter is overplayed in media outlets and the reader never really gets to know Gloria - she only comes in the End of Act 1 to shoot her peers. It does have good reviews, so maybe I am being too harsh. Not the best read to pick-up after a number of weeks under the weather. Hope the next one will be better.