To see OTHER
PEOPLES MONEY is to understand why the French call our economic
system savage capitalism. The ruthlessness and greed of our
bankers and businessmen have drawn the attention of such American writers
as Theodore Dreiser, Oliver Stone and David Mamet. Now we can add the
name of playwright Jerry Sterner to distinguished list.
Sterner, who wrote OTHER PEOPLES MONEY when he was working the night-shift
for the New York Transit Authority, satirizes corporate raiding in his
play, which won an Outer Critics Circle Award when it was first done off-Broadway
in 1989 (and then became a Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck and Danny
PEOPLES MONEY pits Jorgenson (Kent Minault), the head of New England
Wire & Cable, a venerable family business, against Larry The
Liquidator Garfinkle (Rob Adler), who comes up from New York intending
to take the company over in predatory fashion, sell off its assets, and
walk away with a bundle of dough. That he will leave behind a shuttered
factory and 1200 out of work employees doesnt bother him in the
Jorgenson, an old-fashioned businessman with a conscience, tries his best
to fight Larry off. He is aided by his comptroller, Coles (Barry Heins),
and his longtime assistant, Bea (Amanda Carlin). The latter also has a
daughter, Kate (Alexandra Wright), who is a corporate lawyer with the
toughness and smarts needed to slug it out with Larry.
Much of OTHER PEOPLES MONEY deals with the donnybrook between Larry
and Kate, one which sheds light on the mysteries and machinations of corporate
raiding: there is lots of talk about poison pills, green mail, and court
injunctions. But in the end, Sterners play is really about the impact
of moneybig moneyhas on human beings and whether they will
sell their souls for it. Its sad but true to say that most of the
people (and that includes New England Wire & Cables many stockholders)
do not come off well in that regard.
brash, polemical, and all-too-relevant play was snappily directed by Oliver
Muirhead for the InterAct Theatre Company. The actors are to be highly
praised as well.
(Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Call 818-765-8732 or visit brownpapertickets.com)