Saint Martin’s University Theatre Department presents “The Memorandum”

April 09, 2013

LACEY, Wash. – Want to move ahead in the workplace? Then learn the language of “Ptydepe.”

memorandumpic A convoluted and maddening maze of red tape ensues for a middle manager at an enormous organization when he tries to get one memo translated into Ptydepe, a just-invented and impossibly complicated language his workplace is suddenly using for all office communications.

This is the plot line for “The Memorandum,” which opens April 12 at the State Theater, 204 4th Ave. East, in downtown Olympia. David Hlavsa, theatre arts professor at Saint Martin’s University, is director. Vaclav Havel, a playwright, former political prisoner and first president of the Czech Republic, wrote this critically acclaimed work, which serves as a spiky satire gone mad.

“Anybody who has ever worked in an office or has had to deal with a bureaucracy should find this play both disturbingly familiar and very funny,” says Hlavsa. “‘The Memorandum’ is about how people in large organizations, often with the best intentions, come up with absurd ideas — in this case, adopting a ‘scientific,’ artificial, office language — that seem perfectly logical but have disastrous, dehumanizing consequences.”

“As a dissident playwright in the 1960s, Havel wrote this play was a critique of Czechoslovakia’s Soviet-backed regime,” adds Hlavsa, “but it is just as applicable to the workings of present-day corporate bureaucracies.”

Performances will run April 12 – 14, and April 17 – 20. Tickets at the door are $12 for general admission, and $7 for students, seniors and military personnel. Advance tickets can be purchased online at

Performance times are as follows:

  • April 12, 13: 7:30 p.m.
  • April 14: 2 p.m.
  • April 17*, 18, 19, 20: 7:30 p.m.

*April 17 is Pay-What-You-Will

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

David Hlavsa
Professor, theater arts

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager