I believe playwrights are the prophets of our time. And it is thrilling when a play we have spent years developing opens at a moment that makes it look ripped out of the headlines. A White Girl’s Guide to International Terrorism was commissioned over two years ago, and yet when it opened in January, the news was full of Isis war brides wanting to repatriate and being turned down by their birth countries. The Fit, over three years in gestation, will open at a time when the Theranos scandal is all over the news and wearable technology is exploding. It certainly does seem like prophecy!
Ms. Perloff’s inspiration for The Fit was some biographical accounts of women trying to work in the male-dominated world of venture capital and the horrible roadblocks and glass ceilings they encountered. Much like Katja, the protagonist in Non-Player Character, Sakina, the young scientist in The Fit, fresh out of MIT, challenges the status quo in a major venture capital firm. The play questions whether she will be able to compete in this brutal world without sacrificing her nature as a woman. Or can she only succeed by being as ruthless as the men?
Is ruthlessness essential for success? What does the win-at-all-costs mentality do to the souls of some who pursue careers in the corporate world? What do we give up to win at this game? These questions apply to all the characters in The Fit. They are ambitious, driven to win, and not always aware of the costs of their actions to others or themselves. How do we balance our pursuit of the American dream with our needs as human beings? What role does morality play in the world of business?
Paul, head of the firm, has built his life out of taking huge gambles. He has all the trappings of success but worries he may be losing his touch. Jeremy wants to BE Paul and will do whatever it takes. Sakina has ideals, but will she end up as corrupted as the men? Marcia, desperate for success, risks losing her daughter in the bargain and even the cleaning lady will let nothing stand in the way of her dream. Do we judge them for their lack of scruples? Or do we suspect that many of our closely held but false beliefs are the real villains, creating a playing field where everyone loses and no one is really a fit?