Open curtain: it’s an office of cubicles with Bach’s Mass in B minor (Gloria) playing in the background. It’s a 21st-century office heralding the presence of an intern and a copy assistant. What is hell is going on in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play Gloria now showing at the Hampstead Theatre?
I have a lot of things to say about Gloria mostly because of its content, or at least the first half of it, which is something many writers and media-type workers have to face every day. US playwright Jacobs-Jenkins has given us a sneak preview of a New York-based magazine where editorial assistants grab Star Buck lattes, tweet fake news, swipe for real-time news on their smartphones, handle the puke of their editorial managers and desperately cling onto their dreams of becoming an influential writer one day.
For us audience members, Jacobs-Jenkins describes one out of the zillion office-based careers where climbing the ladder, making a name for yourself and starting off as a low paid, or barely paid, intern is the mainstay for most competitive industries. For Gloria, it’s the soullessness of the magazine industry and the playwright should know given his three years at The New Yorker.