Let’s be honest here. Everybody at some point in their professional life has had — the horrible boss. The one who throws you under the bus to cover up his or her own mistakes. The one that gives you grief over the smallest mistakes. The micromanager. The bully.
If you have ever had one of them (or ever been one) and want to be with kindred spirits — or you just like theatre — drama powerhouse Pangdemonium Productions is staging ‘Swimming with Sharks’, a play based on the movie of the same name starring Kevin Spacey.
In this compelling piece, we meet Buddy, an incendiary movie producer, one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, and a boss from hell. His eager-beaver new assistant, Guy, soon finds himself being Buddy’s personal slave. Guy endures Buddy’s tantrums and relentless abuse in the hopes of getting the chance to move up the Hollywood ladder. “There’s a sort of power struggle over this one special screenplay that everyone wants to get their hands on. Ultimately the play is essentially about office politics and corporate intrigue,” explains Adrian Pang, who plays Buddy.
Watch a preview of the play here:
“I remembered watching the movie when it first came out back in 1994 and I loved it because it was fun, thrilling and a fascinating insight into the Hollywood movie-making business,” Pang continues. “When my wife and I found out that there was a stage version of it, we got our hands on the script and discovered that it was fantastic and even better than the original movie.”
Adrian Pang and George Young
Don’t expect a localised version of the piece though, as Pang says that they are sticking to the original source material. “It was very obvious for us that the only way to do the play was to stay faithful to the setting and the context of the story being Hollywood. But have no fear; you don’t have to know Hollywood to appreciate this story, as it is very relatable to anyone who has to go into the office every day,” says Pang.
For actor George Young, who plays Guy in his first professional theatre production, the play certainly brings back memories of working as a corporate lawyer in the UK. “I remember my first day of work as a trainee lawyer. I thought that it was going to be like ‘Ally McBeal’ (the TV series), but it turned out to be very different. There was a lot of rubbish work I had to do as a trainee and, of course, my fair share of horrible bosses,” quips Young.
Young says that he was attracted to the play because of his character Guy, who he says is totally different from any he has played before. “Guy has this really fascinating arc where he starts off fresh and naïve and then develops into something darker as the play progresses. For me, finding that naïvety was a challenge because all that was already lost from me,” explains Young.
For Pang, tapping into his ‘boss from Hell’ character was breeze: “I have worked with producers who were complete ogres and absolute tyrants, and it was easy to just channel all of that into the character. Buddy is bad, really bad to the bone, a real villain and you know what all actors say about villains — they’re the most fun to play,”