Corporate Culture takes a hit in UH Production of 'Below the Belt'

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Hapless inhabitants of a corporate wasteland are beaten down by bureaucracy and abusive managers. Still, they yearn to climb the company’s career ladder no matter where it leads. It sounds like a slice of life in office hell, but it’s the premise of Richard Dresser’s dark comedy “Below the Belt.”

The University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance will kick off a five-show run of “Below the Belt” at 8 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 28 in UH’s Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre.

The play focuses on office rivals Dobbitt and Hanrahan, two minor employees of a nameless company. Both are “checkers” overseeing the work of fellow employees. Their boss, Merkin is a former checker who now uses his power to complicate the lives of his two-man staff. Although all three are lost and unhappy at their company, they are more than willing to do what it takes to rise through its ranks.

“The play is a comment on the vastness of the corporate world, political world and power,” said director Carolyn Houston Boone, associate professor of theater. “It’s really a comment on the forgotten person who is simply a cog in the machine. Even the smallest cog wants to be better than the other cogs.”

“Below the Belt” debuted in 1995 at the Humana Festival in Louisville, Ky. In 1996, an Off-Broadway production starring Judd Hirsch garnered critical acclaim. The play was later adapted into a film, which was screened at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

General admission tickets are $15; $12 for UH faculty, staff and alumni; $10 for seniors or groups of 10 or more; and $7 for students. Ticket information can be obtained by calling the Wortham Theatre box office at
(713) 743-2929. For more information about the UH School of Theatre, visit the Web site http://www.class.uh.edu/theatre/home.html.

WHAT: “Below the Belt”
WHEN: 8 p.m., Sept. 28 – 29 and Oct. 5 – 6; 2 p.m., Sept. 30
WHERE: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts/Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre
University of Houston - Entrance 16
Houston, TX 77204
WHO: UH School of Theatre & Dance

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.

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