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An out-of-service staircase becomes the catalyst for a comic war of status and semantics in the workplace.

Character Breakdown

2 Men, 1 Women


Commissioned by The Drilling Company for ThE Service Project


78th Street Theatre Lab, in The Drilling Co.’s The Service Project, Hamilton Clancy, Director

Access Theater, in That Damn Dykstra (the boxed set). Margarett Perry, Director


“Best of all is Dykstra’s Service Order, in which an out-of-service staircase becomes the catalyst for a comic war of status and semantics in the workplace.”

“… looping meta-logic and fast talk, frequently rising into an obsessive-compulsive delirium. What's the difference between designating a stairway "out of service" and "out of order"? A middle-management woman, denied access, wants to know. She interrogates a security guard, and in the ensuing conversation they riff on servitude, servicing, and the "service economy," among countless other fine points… His people are both tortuously rational and obsessively doting, and he often builds their conjectures into absurd and hilarious dimensions.”

Village Voice

“My favorite piece of the evening was "Service/Order," about an office in which a blazer-wearing security man is informing mid-level employees that the stairs are out of service. How can the stairs be out of order, a woman asks. They're not out of order, they're out of service. And why are they out of service if they're not out of order, she asks. I can tell you but you're not going to like it, he warns her.

Turns out the stairs are out of service because the elevators are out of order. That sets off a chain reaction in which the executives upstairs, denied an executive elevator, have ordered security to secure the employee stairs for their exclusive use for the duration of the elevator problem. Into this surreal premise walks a male middle manager, who sees nothing strange about it. One day he hopes to be one of the execs upstairs and be able to order the stairs closed to mid-level riffraff too. It's a sly commentary on corporate climbing and class in America, all wrapped up in a seeming nonsequitur about stairs and elevators. Very funny and very much on target.”

Joshua Tanzer,

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