Assoc. Arts & Culture Editor
For their fall 2013 season, Millersville’s comedy group Citamard opens their semester with “Hard Candy,” a fast-paced comedy about extreme lengths job applicants will go to climb the corporate ladder.
“Hard Candy,” a short play written by Jonathan Rand and directed by Meg Danison, is actually a series of job interviews where the job applicants are absolutely desperate to land a job with Banff Enterprises and are will to do anything to get it, whether it’s bribery, flattery, nepotism, blackmail, taking over the interview themselves or even trying to hypnotize their potential future employer. Each job interview always ends with the applicant getting the job, and the next interview always begins with them as the new employer at Banff Enterprises. This makes for some very hilarious situations and very zany characters as the applicants try to win over their employers in the most ridiculous fashions, and their employers eventually give them to job because of a particular flaw in their character.
The first interview has Christian Kriebel as the applicant and Sean Haines as the employer, who only hires Kriebel because he learns that they were involved in the same college fraternity. The next interview has Kriebel hiring Jen Trewhella after she impresses him with her eleven degrees and the fact that she can speak so many languages. In another interview, Jeremy Hammer, a boss who happens to be a real pushover, gets talked into hiring Tatiana Urusow after she takes charge of the interview. Then there’s Dave Hassler, whose interviewee, Aaron Dake, tries to hypnotize him into hiring him, which initially proves unsuccessful, but Hassler ends up hiring Dake anyway. Another interview involves an intimidating, drill sergeant-like employer played by Henry Wagner hiring a meek applicant played by Nicole Weerbouck, only for the audience to find out after the interview that Weerbouck is actually Wagner’s daughter. Then, in the final interview, the bored, underappreciated secretary, played by Hannah Weier, comes in for an interview with Weerbouck, where Weerbouck turns her down because her only past work experience is with Banff Enterprises. Weerbouck pops a piece of hard candy into her mouth and starts choking on it, and as she chokes, Weier tries to bribe her into hiring her in exchange for saving her life. As Weerbouck collapses from her chair and lays unconscious on the floor, Weier smiles and announces herself as the new head of Banff Enterprises.
What was so enjoyable about “Hard Candy” was not just the directing, the script or the humor, but also the energy of the cast. All the actors were great in their roles and gave it their all, whether it was Trewhella as the haughty, over-qualified applicant, Urusow as the applicant who takes charge of the interview, Dake as the over-the-top hypnotist, and Weerbouck as the horrified, wide-eyed applicant. The entire cast all had their individual moments to shine all were all memorable in their own rights. It might also be safe to suggest that this short play probably related to many college students, as some of them start to prepare for graduation and find a job out in the real world in the near future.
Overall, despite being such a short show (it only lasted about 30 minutes), “Hard Candy” was a strong opening show for Citamard for its fall 2013 semester.