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.
Lay and Roe glide by this group, despite Fastow's outstretched hand.
Lay magnanimously greets another couple of starstruck employees. He's like an avuncular politician.
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 goes over to collect Skilling.
Fastow strides over to introduce himself to Lay.
Roe drags Skilling over to Lay.
Lay slaps Skilling on the back.
Fastow exhales and glances at the group of employees who had teased him.
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.
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.
He is doing his trousers up. Roe is pulling down her skirt and straightening herself.
Beat.
They look out of a window over Houston.
Beat.
Beat.
Beat.
Beat.
Beat.
Roe smiles.
Skilling shakes his head.
She eyes him.
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.
Pause. Lay leans back.
The competitors look at each other.
Beat.
Roe makes a 'see?' gesture
Silence.
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:
He passes it to Roe.
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:
Beat.
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.
Skilling turns the sound down on the television.
Skilling nods.
She waits for him to say it.
She nods. Beat.
Beat.
Beat.
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.
Beat.
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.
Beat.
She makes to leave.

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.
Congresswoman Such a creative atmosphere. I'm thrilled to meet you, you're the expert in energy trading, right?
Congresswoman Well we're all just thrilled to be here. I don't know how you're doing it, but keep on doing it.Split Scene.Beneath:
Fastow's lair is revealed. He is finishing constructing LJM, the huge construct that has been designed literally and metaphorically to 'support' the level above it, Enron.
Fastow, dressed in an even more dandyish fashion, is in his element.
He takes calls on his phone. He's hugely in demand.
Hi you're talking to Andy Fastow, Chief Financial Officer to the stars. Hey Rex, you fuck, you know how many other divisions are begging for help with their numbers right now?! You're gonna have to hold. Lou baby, don't tell me 'bout your numbers now – hey, I know those targets were unhittable, I know that. But you gonna take those losses? I didn't think so!Hold on, I got another one. Yeah yeah yeah, you love me. No I'm not going up to the party. I leave my office, the whole world falls apart, you know what I mean? Don't worry. Everything's developing nicely down here.
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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