Downsize! The Musical

By Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997


Curtain rises on the Faculty of Management in the morning. STUDENTS are milling around, drinking coffee and talking. ELMER is sitting in the foyer reading a newspaper. EVA enters and sees him. She approaches.

ELMER:

Eva! So how did your interview go at Consolidated Research Advertising Products?

EVA:

I got the job!

ELMER:

Just like that?

EVA:

Yes!

ELMER:

I'm happy for you.

EVA:

I can't wait to begin.

ELMER:

But before you go off and bask in the glow of the real world, I have some advice for you.

EVA:

Oh, what's that?

Music rises (with apologies to "Eva Beware of the City" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber)

ELMER:

Eva beware when you're working,

Of a culture that's cold, the need for control, be aware,

Where you become just a part of the whole,

And those who are not find themselves out of a job,

Lost, in the shuffle, no one cares.

EVA:

But it's good for me,

I'm bored, so bright, and so ignored,

I need to be remarkable, marketable.

Everyone's getting out of here, so why oh why oh why the hell can't I?

I only want the enjoyment of employment.

I want to be a well-paid MBA,

As soon as possible.

ELMER:

Five years from now you shall look back,

And finally say "Money isn't all what it's about."

You'll see the world through older eyes,

And you soon realize, that the fulfillment lies,

In something called quality of life.

EVA:

I've longed to be free, to work in such a company.

I played the job search games alright, didn't I?

I already know how the corporate world works, how big business feels and looks,

I've paid my dues, didn't I?

I want to be a well-paid MBA,

As soon as possible.

STUDENTS:

She wants to be a well-paid MBA,

As soon as possible.

ELMER:

Eva beware your ambition.

It's hungry and cold, can't be controlled, will run wild.

Just keep in mind that there's more to life, than merely making money,

There's also quality, the intangible quality of life.

And wherever you go, just keep that in mind.

EVA shakes hands with ELMER and says her good-byes. She exits stage left. Curtain falls.

Curtain rises on a board room. It is now three months later. SONYA is chairing the meeting. JUAN is in attendance. COMMON MAN is watching off to the side.

SONYA:

It has been almost three months since Schulman/Herschkop Information Technologies has acquired Consolidated Research Advertising Products. In my original mandate, I was placed on your board to study alternatives for streamlining operations here.

JUAN:

But we have shown strong growth for the past two years. At the rate we're growing, we need the slack capacity to counter any volatility of demand.

SONYA:

Yes, but the consultants, after analyzing our cost structure, have found we are in the upper quartile of our industry. This must change. And so I'd like to invite the consultants in to present their solution.

CONSULTANTS march in and stand behind SONYA.

CONSULTANTS:

We've done our benchmarking and we find Consolidated Research Advertising Products to be grossly inefficient. We recommend strongly that all tasks should be outsourced wherever possible.

JUAN shakes his head. Set changes from board room to office. SONYA and her entourage of CONSULTANTS begin purging employees.

Music rises (apologies to "And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out)" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber).

COMMON MAN:

And the company kept sourcing out for every task.

Sonja's mandate reached out and she did ask,

Every unit to outsource in order to reduce costs.

And they did the best they could.

When your company is sourcing out, you watch your back,

Have some boxes ready in case you have to pack.

Sonja's cut out the fat, sent them out the doors.

Never ever been a purge like this one before.

CONSULTANTS:

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing.

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

It out.

COMMON MAN:

We used to have I.S. maintain the computer,

But we found outsiders that could do it cheaper.

And we used to do our own in-house R&D,

But that is no more my friends.

They hired a venture run by a bunch of industry contacts,

Paid them half as much and on short-term contracts.

The company's changed the way that it does its business.

Show me any firm that operates so efficiently.

CONSULTANTS:

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing.

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

It out.

COMMON MAN:

And the company kept sourcing out in all its decisions.

From the top, the bottom, to meet the new strategic direction.

Now analysts say that the company has finally found its way.

But that's not the point my friends.

When your company is sourcing out, don't ask why.

Be sure to have your unit's cost structure justified.

Sonya won't slow it down, stay out of her way.

Never ever been a purge like this one before.

CONSULTANTS:

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing.

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

It out.

Sonya!

Big Latin dance number with COMMON MAN, SONYA and CONSULTANTS.

CONSULTANTS:

When the company is sourcing out, you can't please,

All the affected parties or displaced employees.

Committees only slow things down, unions get in the way.

Never ever been a purge like this one before.

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing,

Sourcing sourcing sourcing, sourcing sourcing sourcing.

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

Sourcing it out, sourcing it,

It out.

Curtain falls.

Curtain rises on a row of four cubicles. EVA is in the leftmost cubicle. SONYA, COMMON MAN, and SECURITY GUARD enter from stage right. Music rises (with apologies to "Goodnight and Thank You" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber). COMMON MAN approaches first cubicle and shakes hand of TREVOR.

COMMON MAN:

Goodnight and thank you Trevor.

We enjoyed your company,

Your services we won't need, anymore.

We outsourced your job, we can't thank you enough.

So take everything, whatever you can bring,

And vacate the building by four.

SONYA:

Oh but it's sad when we have to downsize,

But the company has haemorrhaged enough,

It's best that we try reducing our costs.

COMMON MAN:

Which means...

TREVOR cleans up his desk and packs everything in a box.

SONYA and COMMON MAN:

There is no one, no one at all,

Never has been, and never will be a worker, male or female,

Who isn't immune from, or that we will spare from,

The ax coming down any harder.

They're hoping their employer will help them or keep them,

Support them, promote them,

Or leave them, just the same.

TREVOR walks to stage right and stands with his box of things. COMMON MAN goes to next cubicle.

COMMON MAN:

Good night and thank you Emilio.

You've completed your task,

What more can we ask of you now?

We know that this comes as a bit of a shock,

But there was no choice, leave without making a noise,

And good luck in finding something else.

EMILIO cleans up his desk and packs everything into a box.

SONYA:

Oh but it's sad when you have to downsize,

Working with less or without.

But this is the way of business today.

COMMON MAN:

Which means...

SONYA and COMMON MAN:

There is no one, no one at all,

Never has been, and never will be a worker, male or female,

Who isn't immune from, or that we will spare from,

The ax coming down any harder.

They're hoping their employer will help them or keep them,

Support them, promote them,

Or leave them, just the same.

EMILIO walks to stage right with his box of things and stands next to TREVOR.

SONYA:

There is no firm, no firm at all,

Never has been, and never will be a company, big or small,

That isn't immune from, or that will be spared from,

The turmoil of market forces.

This is a fact to reflect on as you pack,

And in time, you'll understand.

COMMON MAN goes to next cubicle.

COMMON MAN:

Goodnight and thank you Christopher,

We are grateful you spent five years of your life with us now.

We'll keep you in mind if we need some advice,

We'd like you to stay but you'd be in the way,

So pack up your belongings and go.

CHRISTOPHER cleans up his desk and puts everything into a box. He walks stage right and stands next to TREVOR and EMILIO.

SONYA:

Oh but it's sad when your job is downsized,

The decline into silence and doubt.

We'll give you counseling on the options you have..

COMMON MAN:

Which means...

TREVOR, EMILIO, and CHRISTOPHER.

This is a company I should never have joined,

Thrown off the job like refuse.

We spoke to our lawyers about trying to sue,

The labour board was no use.

SONYA:

There are no limits to how far I'll go,

I won't stop until the bleeding slows.

COMMON MAN:

They're heading downtown to apply for UI,

To hold them until another job they find.

TREVOR, EMILIO, and CHRISTOPHER:

Oh but it's sad... when your job is downsized!

SECURITY GUARD motions TREVOR, EMILIO, and CHRISTOPHER to move along. All four exit stage right.

SONYA walks over to the last cubicle, where EVA is working. Music rises (apologies to "Hello and Good-bye" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber")

SONYA:

Hello and good-bye, I just unemployed you.

Don't think of me as cruel.

You've had a good run, and I really did like you.

Don't act sad or surprised, let's be friends, civilized.

Come on Ms. Duarte, don't sit there like a dummy.

The day you knew would arrive is here, you'll survive.

So move, clear this place.

I'm sure you'll find employment, and maybe with a raise,

You're obviously going through a difficult phase.

Lights dim and single spot on EVA.

EVA:

So what happens now?

So what happens now?

Where am I going to?

COMMON MAN:

You'll get by, you always have before.

EVA:

Where am I going to?

SONYA:

Don't ask anymore.

Lights dim. Curtain falls.


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