Whilst it’s a play about job identity, you won’t be surprised that it touches on themes of workplace bullying. The following is an extract from the extensive first-draft feedback I received from two professional playwrights who kindly offered to take a look last month:-
“What is strongest or most prevalent dramatically, is the way that the harassment develops insidiously and escalates. This is in part because you sketch with detail the grey area in which the characters operate.”The ‘grey area’ got me thinking. If workplace bullying was a colour – it couldn’t be anything but grey. It’s the epitome of grey. Firstly there’s the leaden depression which comes hand in hand when working for a bully. Secondly, there’s the legal grey area, where you can’t do anything about it unless it’s tacked on to a ‘black and white’ violation of your statutory rights.
It’s the subtleties of workplace bullying which make it grey. It’s the can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it/I’m-just-not-telling-it-right difficulties we face when trying to express ourselves which compound the overcast gloom already caused by workplace abuse.
But here’s where art comes into its own. When life’s grey areas are difficult to express in conversation, art lends a deeper, more considered vocabulary. I’m not saying we have to turn into tree hugging hippies, but it helps to creatively express ourselves when we’re mentally washed-out.
So I say we should do what we can to restore our true colours, and leave the bullies standing in our shadow, where they belong.