Yesterday I saw the matinee of Assistance at Playwright’s Horizons. Admittedly I went to see it because of Michael Esper being part of the company and secondly because Assistance is written by Leslye Headland (who wrote the epic play Bachlorette, which premiered at Second Stage’s uptown theatre in 2010). The play told the story of an assistant with hopes of being promoted over the course of 3 years, his assistant, and the couple of interns they have over time. Each of them also go crazy from the stress as time progresses. The play is constructed in an interesting way – you go from scene to a monologue (usually a phone call) and to another scene a year or so later.

At the top of the play, Nick (Michael Esper) has been promoted from first to second assistant when Vince (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) has been made director of another department within this huge company (owned by a tyrant of a boss, though we never find out what the company actually does). The new second assistant, Nora (Virginia Kull) is nervous but a year later we see that she’s become equally as strung out as Nick.  

Bobby Steggert has a small part as another one of the assistants in the company, Justin, and his biggest moment was his phone call with his therapist where he loses it entirely. Heather (Sue Jean Kim), the intern that lets the bosses expenses become outstanding leading to his AMEX being shut off, has another great phone call during which her complete breakdown occurs after she’s been fired.  

Assistance’s ending is the most surprising part of all. Let’s just say there’s a 4-minute tap number with water thanks to the last intern, Jenny (Amy Rosoff).

I really enjoyed Assistance overall. As an assistant who is sometimes stressed out I could definitely somewhat relate to the story. That being said, this also made me thrilled not to have a high-strung boss who makes my life hell. The cast was thoroughly fantastic. As per usual at Playwrights Horizons, the set was detailed and beautiful.   

If you need some reminder of how good you have it at your job, Assistance is the play for you. Assistance is playing at Playwrights Horizons through March 11th. Click here for more information. 

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