Enron by Lucy Prebble

Act 1

Scene 1: Mark-To-Market Party, 1992

A party in a small office at Enron. Present are: Employees drinking champagne; Claudia Roe, a very attractive blonde woman of forty in a short skirt. She sticks close to the most powerful man in the room – Ken Lay, an easy, convivial man in his sixties, greeting and acknowledging every employee with practised southern hospitality; Andy Fastow, a nervy, lupine guy in his thirties, is circling with an unsettling grin.
Fastow is on the outskirts of the group of Employees, trying to ingratiate himself.
Roe Oh, thank you so much.
Lay and Roe glide by this group, despite Fastow's outstretched hand.
Roe Should we expect a speech from you, sir?
Lay magnanimously greets another couple of starstruck employees. He's like an avuncular politician.
Roe Jeff Skilling. I don't know where he is.
Outside the party, Skilling straightens his suit, his hair. He looks like a bespectacled, overweight, balding accountant. He takes a deep breath.
He enters the party and finds himself a drink for confidence.
Roe
(noticing Skilling)
There he is.
Roe goes over to collect Skilling.
Fastow strides over to introduce himself to Lay.
Roe Jeff, come over – Ken Lay.
Roe (sarcastic) 'Hi, how are you.' Ken Lay.
Roe drags Skilling over to Lay.
Roe Ken –
Lay slaps Skilling on the back.
Roe That was cropped from a profile in Forbes.
Roe I'm surprised you read Vogue.
Roe I don't recall.
Roe Number fourteen.
Roe We were talking mark-to-market.
Roe This new accounting system, Jeff, you think it's worth celebrating?
Roe I'm not an accountant.
Roe Yes. But we are a gas and oil company.
Roe And it's very much appreciated.
Fastow exhales and glances at the group of employees who had teased him.
Roe No.
Roe It's not a celebration of ignorance, Jeff, it's a party.
He takes it upon himself to clink his glass to get everyone's attention. It's a surprise. Any speech would be deemed to be Lay's job.
Skilling turns and walks back to Lay, Roe and Fastow.
Roe Nicely done
Skilling downs his drink.
We see projections of the joys and stability of the 1990s.
Bill Clinton, the break-up of the Soviet Union, Microsoft, the Internet and the rise of the home computer and Intel, Friends, Nelson Mandela's election, images of Arnie in Terminator 2.
An Employee comes forward to speak to us.

Scene 2: Afterparty

In a corporate boardroom, high up, Skilling and Roe finish having clothed, quick sex.
Roe I've been thinking about mark-to-market.
He is doing his trousers up. Roe is pulling down her skirt and straightening herself.
Roe Essentially, we are deciding what our own future profits will be.
Roe All I said is, we get to decide the profits. Why would that be anything but a good thing?
Roe Spiky.Look at you! Look at your face!
Roe You just changed is all.
Beat.
Roe I'll bet you were a real serious kid. My oldest is like that.
Roe You know, I read that it's better to hire people who were bullied at school. Cos, you know, they want it more. They've got inbuilt competition.
Roe You thought you were special.
Roe Oooh! 'Whatever.'
Roe (laughs) Not here.
They look out of a window over Houston.
Roe Before the market opens. The world waiting.
Beat.
Roe Ohh! Ken told you.
Beat.
Roe Yeah. I like how you bring it up after you screwed me …
Roe I'm not gonna break that confidence. But if you think when I'm president, you're getting special favours –
Roe Shit.
Roe You said you knew!
Roe You are a real son of a … I can't / believe –
Beat.
Roe Oh my God!
Roe Do I need to feel guilty?
Roe I can't be the cause of a marriage break up –
Roe We've only had sex three times.
Roe Yes, Rich is leaving. And I had sex with you three times.
Roe One, South America. Two, after the SEC announce- / ment. Three –
Beat.
Roe How are you defining sex?
Roe We didn't have penetrative sex on the Enron jet! We fooled around. I went down on you.
Roe Oh my God, well if you want to throw that in …!
Roe When did Susan leave?
Roe That's none of your business. When did your wife leave?
Roe I hope I'm irrelevant.
Roe Good.
Beat.
Roe Come on, how old are you?!
Roe Yeah.
Roe Stop it. You're Harvard, you're McKinsey, you're running a whole division. You're just having a mid-life / (crisis).
Roe Don't talk that way.
Roe I think most acts of depravity too.Look, don't get all … I'm sure you've got ideas. I'll talk to Ken –
Roe smiles.
Roe And you're a godless atheist.
Roe It is nice.
She picks up her underwear and puts it in her handbag.
You gonna go home?
Skilling shakes his head.
She eyes him.
Roe As an addendum, can I just say, previously you had an incentive equal, I believe, to mine for not disclosing this. I'd like to stress that this and the other three occasions, or four if you're gonna be a high-school girl about it, are not to be discussed or recounted at any future date. And it will not be happening again.
Roe You got a Kleenex? I appear to be running.
Skilling gets a tissue out of his pocket. Roe takes it and gently wipes all the way up her inner leg, wiping off the ejaculate that has run down her thigh.
She tosses the Kleenex away deliberately casually and confidently strides from the office.

Scene 3: Ken Lay's Office, 1996

In another office, Ken Lay sits with Roe and Skilling sitting before him.
Roe I would –
Roe I imagine you'd want to indicate that Enron is not an old-fashioned, macho place to work.
Pause. Lay leans back.
The competitors look at each other.
Beat.
Roe Ken, before he talks over me here I wanna say –
Roe He doesn't have the skills to manage / people effectively –
Roe / Jeff has trouble relating to others. He doesn't remember names. He called a client stupid.
Roe Fan Bridglen.
Roe makes a 'see?' gesture
Roe My vision. The international energy company. Enron: delivering gas and oil to the world.
Roe The world is?Jeff, sometimes I wonder if you have anger issues.
Roe Brilliant (!)
Roe Well, we're a gas company, Jeff.
Roe We should be focusing on building more plants.
Roe Wind farms?! I'm sorry, I thought I was the only woman in the room.
Roe India, Africa – huge power requirements in the future –
Roe I think in the most volatile areas in the world it might be worth controlling their energy supply, yes.
Roe Sounds like hippy talk to me.
Roe I can push through natural gas deals we already have experience of. You want power? Enron. India? Enron. South America? Enron.
Roe In which case, don't you think it's worth being the only people in the world with power plants?!
Roe Except you (!)
Silence.
Roe Suddenly you have a 'calling'. Well, I find it distasteful.
Lay considers the younger man and his presumption.
Skilling tries to maintain his dignity and leaves. Lay takes Roe's hand.
As Roe's dreams are shattered, Skilling's dreams are made real.
The transformation of Enron. From discreet, regular offices, Skilling and Lay oversee it becoming an open-plan, free, shiny expanse.
It should feel like a physical liberation; a clearing of clutter.
Skilling and Lay shake hands.
Skilling looks down at the Enron he envisioned beneath him: glass, reflective surfaces, futuristic design, open spaces, a huge trading floor.

Scene 4: An Orgy Of Speculation

Magical music.
Above us somewhere there is a twinkle of gold. And then another of silver somewhere else. And then more – commodities like stars in the sky.
The sound of singing, each their own different song. It builds to an atonal babble of commodity prices and bids. It's a musical cacophony of the trading floor. Over time, the voices all conjoin to meet in a pure, single note. It is beautiful.
The gold glints somewhere in the auditorium.
The voices and notes become an atonal mess again. Eventually blending to everyone singing a single note and price.
A shimmer from aluminum.
And again the clamour builds up before finding a commodity value in one distinct harmony.
They split again into babble.
This empty, beautiful purity in Skilling's head is interrupted by the reality of the Traders' arrival.
The Traders flood the stage. The stock price rises.
The chaos, the physicality, the aggression and shouting of a trading floor. This simmers to doing deals, buzzing on phones and computers making money. Overlap is fine.
A melee of sound and trading and speculation into –
Trader 5 whistles the loss.
Suddenly, Fastow enters, all smooth self-importance. All the Traders react mockingly.
One of the Traders makes a 'whoo' noise.
Fastow goes for Trader 2, physically. He gets right in his face, aggressively.
Fastow touches him.
Trader 2 shoves Fastow, who squares right up to him, fearless.
He moves in to break it up.
Fastow is pulled away.
Fastow watches, pleased. Trader 2 reaches into his pockets and doles out a whole heap of bills on the floor.
Trader 2 swings around and hits Fastow, who, not expecting this, scrambles out of the way into other Traders, who all take a pop at him. Other Traders mock and physically berate him. One shows him his penis.
As Fastow beats a hasty retreat he tries to maintain some dignity.
He exits.
The bell rings for end of trading.
Improvisation of trading at its highest pitch.
Market closes.
Trader 1 is delighted, sweating, filled with testosterone and joy.
Lights of commodity prices over the faces of all the Traders, a sea of figures.

Scene 5: Trimming The Fat

The sound of motorbikes revving, screeching brakes, the hum of manly pursuits.
Split scene.
Below: Enron gym. Skilling is on a running machine, in sports clothes. He's pushing himself and relishing the physical challenge.
Above: Ken Lay's office. Lay and Roe are meeting.
Below: Fastow enters the gym with trepidation in a suit.
He gestures to the running machine beside him. Fastow, nervous, takes off his shoes and jacket and gets on the machine.
Skilling immediately ups it to a run for Fastow.
He can't help smiling a little. He ups Fastow's speed. Fastow tries to keep up.
He ups Fastow's speed again.
Fastow redoubles his efforts.
Above:
Roe I don't know if I can work under this regime, Ken.
Roe I mean it.
Roe Well, families fight! And Jeff doesn't listen to anyone.
Roe How am I supposed to head a division where ten per cent of my people are cut every time we have an evaluation?!
Roe Who don't get replaced! Or get replaced with really smart twenty-year-olds with no idea what's going on!
Roe It is? Well, happy birthday, Ken.
He passes it to Roe.
Roe 'Happy birthday, Kenny Boy! Now you're really old! Call me sometime. From W.'
Below:
Skilling presses the stop button on Fastow's running machine, hurling the younger man from his treadmill.
Fastow regains his balance and composure as Skilling calmly slows his own speed.
An exhausted Fastow agrees physically while he pants.
Beat.
Above:
Roe I won't let you down.
Roe I want to build a power plant in India.
Roe You wanna be the first? Jeff won't go for it, he doesn't even think outside the States. One power plant.
Roe It's India, Ken. The size of it. Don't you want some skin in that game?
Beat.
Roe I knew I could come to you.
As Lay says 'share price' the share price is revealed; a figurative representation of the company's worth, represented by light somewhere on stage.
An Analyst enters and speaks to us.
The analysts are Sheryl Sloman of Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank. All follow Skilling, enraptured.
As he walks around the space, various Employees approach Skilling with contracts for him to approve and sign. He smoothly signs though barely looks at them, treating them like autographs.
The Analysts line up and face the audience.
Citigroup Analyst, after a drum roll, reveals her verdict:
The stock goes up.
The stock goes up.
The stock goes up.
It's reached half of its full height. Skilling looks genuinely touched by this.
The Analysts become a barbershop quartet and sing.
The Analysts parade off.
He's delighted by his power and effect. Grinning at the recognition and level of belief.
Lay comes down and approaches his protégé.
He hands Skilling a fifty-dollar bill.

Scene 6: Time Is Money

A memory.
Skilling's Daughter appears somewhere high up, not close to him.
She doesn't know, she fidgets.
His Daughter fades into the dark.
The counting continues into:
Physical sequence. The company at work. The Traders dance. As they do they create a round table. Skilling holds meetings around it. People come and go. Meetings end and begin. The table is removed. Fast, ordered, fluidity. Numbers fly through the air. The stock price throbs, but never alters much, gradually edging up in comforting, rhythmic pulses. Lay plays golf somewhere in bright sunlight. Time passes. Days and nights. Gradually a slowing. Computer lights over faces. A calm.
Eventually, Claudia Roe makes her way through the building to Skilling's office.

Scene 7: Skilling's Office

Skilling is watching the financial news.
Roe I've been trying to avoid you.
Roe Yeah. Maybe it was the wrong place to come.
Skilling turns the sound down on the television.
Roe Come on.
Roe I see it every day. I see it in the elevator, I see it on the walls. I see it on my desk.
Skilling nods.
Roe I said to people, wait, just wait, the shine'll wear off, the bubble's gonna burst folks. And … a year goes by, two. But I keep saying it because, if I stop, it's bound to happen and the worst thing would be to not be able to say I told you so.
Roe I don't. I don't think you do either. Go on, you can say it.
She waits for him to say it.
Roe Oh come on! I know what you guys call my division on your biking weekends in Mexico.
Roe Tits Industries. It's not even clever. At least it used to be … what did it used to be?
Roe You know.
She nods. Beat.
Roe Anyways. I came by to say an old friend of mine from college emailed. He's a professor at Harvard now. He used to drink his own urine for a dare by the way. Now he's a professor. Still. He asked if I could put him in touch with you. They want to use Enron as one of the business models they teach.
Roe Yeah.
Roe He said I must be proud.
Roe I did. Just don't ask him for the stories about me.
Roe It was a great party.
Roe Shame you couldn't make it.
Roe Ouch.
Beat.
Roe I had to go to Ken. You wouldn't have. Every time I look at my assets there's less of 'em. You're selling everything I have!
Roe It is! I'm running a division which isn't expanding, it's not even contracting, it's having its balls cut off.
Roe It's your business.
Roe I'm fighting to survive here!
Roe You should tell him that.
Roe It's his company.
Beat.
Roe You need smart people around. To disagree with you.
Roe I meant me. You need me around to disagree with you.
Roe Yeah. You look good, by the way.
Roe Sure, but. You know three guys in my division got Laseks on their eyes after you. Can't find a soul in the building with glasses now. Everyone's copying Daddy.
Roe It's not dangerous?
She uses this as an excuse to look into his eyes.
She's deliberately close to his face. She puts her hands on his face.
Roe Have you ever failed at anything, Jeffrey Skilling?
Beat.
Roe I'm not.
Beat. Skilling closes his eyes. He leans in.
Just then, over her shoulder, Skilling spots a massive graphic flash up on the screen showing the financial news – 'ENRON!'
Skilling spins around. Once he sees what she's referring to, he's just as excited as Roe. They both scrabble for the volume control. One gets there first and turns it up.
Skilling reacts to his name.
Roe Sixty billion dollars! How can we be worth sixty billion dollars?!
Roe But that's huge! That's fantastic!
Beat.
Roe What?
Roe Hey, we're announcing profits all the time, and you seem to know where that money's coming from. Everyone's behind you! And I'm just saying that includes me.
She makes to leave.
Roe Oh, and I don't know if you heard. You know your guy in finance, with the suit and the hair?
Roe He's had a baby. Little boy. Named him Jeffrey.

Scene 8: An Unholy Partnership

Below, darkly, Fastow's lair: a dingy place at the bottom of Enron. Fastow flits happily between complex piles of paperwork, records and maybe screens.
He goes back to his calculations.
Skilling enters.
Fastow starts looking for his wallet.
Beat.
Beat.
Pause.
Skilling makes a so-so gesture and sound.
Beat.
He is looking at papers covered in complex scrawlings. Maybe they're half-screwed up.
Casually intrigued, Skilling looks through them all.
Fastow beams.
Skilling is having some pain.
Pause.
Nothing.
He opens up a tiny fridge that's been installed somewhere in his office/lair.
They open and drink two beers.
Long pause.
Pause.
He has one hand up at neck level indicating the high perception and the other he puts lower to indicate the reality.
His arms droop despondently. Fastow dives in to hold the perception hand up.
Fastow brings Skilling's lower hand up to meet his higher hand.
Beat.
Skilling shakes off the foolish physical intimacy.
Beat.
Beat.
Fastow is excitedy scoping out the room they are standing in.
He walks around clearing the area to make the three per cent clear.
He opens up the shoebox.
Out of the shoebox he produces a matchbox.
He opens the matchbox and takes out a tiny red, glowing box.
He holds it up. The men are bathed in it like some totem from an Indiana Jones film.
Beat.
The tiny box glows red and throbs.
Arthur Andersen appears to one side. He has a ventriloquist's dummy, Little Arthur.
A different voice from his mouth:
Beat.
Arthur Andersen's dummy's eyes flit wildly.
The law firm of Ramsay and Hewitt appears to their other side: one male, one female. They appear as 'Justice'; blindfolded, with sword and scales.
And then, revealed on the level above Skilling and Fastow, the Board appear. The Board is made up of shadowy, dark, imposing figures with the heads of mice, and, in the centre, Ken Lay.
The Board briefly consult.
Fastow is delighted at this.
He signs papers in front of him.
The Board, Arthur Andersen and Hewitt and Ramsay disappear. Fastow and Skilling hug in the centre of the circle.

Scene 9: Party Like It's 1999

Flashes from cameras.
A media event becomes a party filled with Employees, Press and Analysts. It's a financial love-in.
Skilling is being photographed for yet another magazine cover as the dynamic CEO changing the world. The Photographer is beneath him to make him look impressive, god-like.
A Reporter interviews him.
The Reporter flirts a bit.
The stock price goes up.
Skilling is approached by Lay.
Above:
Concerned Employees approach Skilling.
Skilling slaps the employee on the back. He turns back to the press interview.
Lay applauds. The Employees are congratulated and sheepishly proud. The stock goes up hugely. Reaction is ecstatic, like a religious cult. Skilling is messiah-like.
A huge party: absurd, luxurious, delusional, the peak of bull-market excess. Skilling shakes hands with everyone, is treated like a movie star.
Just then, Roe makes a grand entrance to the party. Never one to be outshone, she is on a Harley motorbike, dressed entirely in leather.
She shows off the back on which is stitched 'ENRON'. Whoops of celebration. She removes the helmet, revealing herself, and shakes down her hair. Everyone loves it and all attention is lavished on her.
Above:
Roe turns on the party's big event – the lighting up of a huge neon display welcoming in the new year: 2000.
Below:
Fastow turns slowly around to see the other two Raptors have also taken corporeal form and have crept into LJM.
Blackout.
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