Accessibly Live Off-Line Review: PATTERNS is “highly recommended”

Theater 40 of Beverly Hills opens their 2015-16 of stage plays with PATTERNS, a drama about one man’s place in his work, the younger new entry, and the administrative leader than holds plans for the successor that is second in line.

The setting is the corporate offices of Ramsey & Company of New York City. It’s the middle 1950’s, and at this engineering company, the men are the ones in charge, and the women employed consist of the secretarial staff. Mr. Ramsey (Richard Hoyt Miller) is the head of the company, overseeing many of its branch offices located nationwide. His second in command, VP Andy Sloane (James Schendel) has spend many years at the company performing his various duties. But over time, his health isn’t what it used to be, and he tends to take nips from his bottle of scotch he keeps stashed away in his desk. Rasmey hires a new recruit, Fred Staples (Daniel Daemon). Unlike Staples, Fred is a lot younger and a family man, married to his wife Fan (Savannah Schoeneker), a woman whose job at the moment is to set up their home upon their relocation from the Midwest. Fred finds Andy a man that he can use as a mentor, as he knows the company rather well and still functions as an asset. However, Ramsey has other plans for the two of these men, in spite of what may lie ahead for these executives, as well as for the company’s long standing progression in the corporate world.

This play by James Reach adapts Rod Serling’s original teleplay first performed on the 1950’s dramatic anthology TV series Playhouse 90. The stage version takes the same premise and adds equal dramatic elements, and thrusts these concepts with the strifes and pathos that still holds true in these times some sixty years after the fact! (Corporate business today may be more connected through technology, but lags father behind when it comes to human based resources–utilizing 1950’s based standards!) This production features a rather robust cast, each one latching on to a personality within their own right. Daniel Daemon as Fred Staples is ideal as the junior executive that resembles a person in his 30’s (family man, ‘natch) that can climb that corporate ladder with ease, carefully not stepping on anyone while on the way to the top. Savannah Schoenecker is the affirmative and faithful wife that desires the best for her husband, if not being a bit doting toward her man. Todd Andrew Ball as the boss Ramsey is heavyset in size, and knows that he is in charge: serving what’s best for him and the company he runs. The rest of the players in this production do stand within their own ground. John Schroeder and David Hunt Stafford play Mr. Smith and Mr. Gordon, two junior executives within the company. Erica Larson is featured as Ann Evans, Elain Rinehart is Margrate Lanier, Sharron Shayne is Marge Fleming, and Cathy Diane Tomlin is Martha Stevens. They all consist of the team of secretaries that answers the phones, arrange businesses appointments, and take a letter or two. Louis Schneider portrays Paul Slone, Andy’s son.

A special note goes to Theatre 40’s resident set decorator and designer Jeff G. Rack, presenting the corporate offices of Ramsey & Company as a two level complex that shows character and warmth with practical desks, wood grained walls, and green carpeting–not something one would expect to see in a rather no-nonsense place to conduct business!

Directed by Jules Aaron, PATTERNS is a piece that showcases how companies recognizes their corporate staff all in the name of the bottom line. Perhaps the working world has changed since the 1950’s, but only to a point! And the points do really matter as seen within this performance. This show is highly recommended.