23 December 2021
Everything OK, commissioned by the SNT Drama Ljubljana, is a new Slovenian play that skilfully intertwines different realities of contemporary life. It is set in an Art Nouveau building which houses an escape room. The house is inhabited by two elderly neighbours on the verge of the autumn of their lives, Lili and Franci, feeling rather lonely. The main plot takes place in the escape room. Mihaela, a student of fine arts who wants to do a postgraduate degree or an internship in New York after her graduation, is employed there. On a Friday night a group of work colleagues from a big corporation arrive for a team building. The three narrative lines are punctuated by a poetic prose narrative about the Timekeeper; it has the structure of a fairy tale, symbolically connecting all three plot lines.
The group of co-workers represents an idiosyncratic culmination of the many symptoms of living in contemporary neoliberal capitalist society, marked by the corporate logic of their boss’s mentality. The symptoms include feeling overworked and burnout, fierce competition, drug abuse, covering-up sexual and other identities, as well as basic human hardships and anxieties that get hardly ever noticed, let alone supported in this people-unfriendly environment. The dynamics of the group is indicative of the speed of action in at work that often delve deep into people’s private sphere. The other two plot strands provide a contrast; Mihaela’s story offers two different endings and a possibility for one’s life dream to come true, and the story of two elderly neighbours hoping to get to know each other better. As a counterpoint to the dynamism of corporate mentality, their simplicity and faith, perhaps even the possibility of rapprochement despite the misery of their fates, ignites a bit of hope too.
A new play by Simona Hamer, featuring refreshing novelty of contemporary writing, outlines a witty portrayal of contemporary society and its diverse and conflicting parallel realities. Despite underscoring the many symptoms of the malaise of contemporary society, the play brings forward a necessary serenity, which allows the author to show the world not only in a deadlock, but rather as a reflection of the time that the Timekeeper is measuring out for us. Sometimes it changes more rapidly than we are willing to concede or understand.