Enron

December 2019
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
2
3
4
5
6
Macbeth Macbeth & Malcolm the Miserable
7
Macbeth Macbeth & Malcolm the Miserable Macbeth & Malcolm the Miserable & Plus1 more...
8
Beauty and the Beast Panto
9
Beauty and the Beast Panto
10
Beauty and the Beast Panto
11
Beauty and the Beast Panto
12
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
13
The Jolly Christmas Postman
14
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
15
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
16
Beauty and the Beast Panto
17
Beauty and the Beast Panto
18
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
19
The Jolly Christmas Postman
20
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
21
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
22
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
23
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
24
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
25
26
Beauty and the Beast Panto
27
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
28
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
29
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
30
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
31
Beauty and the Beast Panto Beauty and the Beast Panto & The Jolly Christmas Postman
1
2
3
4
5
Become a Member

‘I'm not a bad man. I'm not an unusual man. I just wanted to change the world.’


Lucy Prebble’s Enron tells the gripping story of the people behind the 21st century’s greatest financial scandal.

Taking us within the inner workings of the Texan energy giant, Enron reveals the tragic danger of imperfect humans corrupted by overwhelming ambition and fuelled by a desire to make a mark on history. As one man rises to unimaginable heights, the company he built up collapses beneath his feet.

Performed by University of Oxford students, this fastpaced, hilarious spectacle of a play takes us within the systems that dictate how the world works... but never takes itself too seriously. With velociraptors, frenzied traders and an appearance from Arnold Schwarzenegger, this show has
it all.

Duration: 2 hours 45mins with interval

Enron.  For good reason, playwright Lucy Prebble saw no reason to give her play a subtitle.  Prebble was right that the corporate scandal that bridged the financial expansion of the 1990s with the geopolitical realities of the 21st century had become a Rorschach test for our era.  Enron remains an event onto which we project our concerns about corporate capitalism, the financialisation of markets, the politics of deregulation, and the polarization of modern society.  So why, given the other infamous scandals of the past two decades – Parmalat, Madoff, Worldcom, and Tyco – did Enron, which collapsed in 2001, become the touchstone for a generation?

Of course in scandals, like in theatre, timing is everything.  Enron’s decline paralleled the bursting of the dotcom bubble at the start of this century.  But even more important, unlike so many other corporate collapses, Enron’s demise was accompanied by the dramatic image of the late-night shredding of documents by Arthur Andersen, hidden assets in corporate accounts named after science fiction characters, and the links between California’s electricity crises and price manipulation by traders in Houston.  If the rise of a virtual economy where markets mattered more than the underlying products increasingly worried the public, Enron gave us an a tangible example of the consequences of this brave new world.  

Enron also exposed a growing fault-line between the work of accountants, lawyers, consultants, and financiers and the daily lives of the blue-collar workers who serviced its old-economy pipelines.  Just as British politician Michael Gove famously dismissed the views of economists, arguing that that “people in this country have had enough of experts”, so too did Enron expose a fundamental cleavage between the prosaic business of gas pipelines and a trading floor, staffed by city traders, where they swapped futures in broadband capacity, electrical power, and even the weather.  As the management consultants from McKinsey, integral to the strategy of Enron, promoted this model to their other clients, the executives within Enron became not only obsessed with financial profits for their shareholders but also their own role as the economic prophets for a new economy.  

But of course, at the heart any good scandal there is also a morality play.  In the 19th century, Dickens, Conrad, Zola, and Trollope all employed financial crimes to propel their novels, a literary device that had almost fallen out of fashion until the 21st century when once again our sense of common trust and betrayal seemed best explored in the tensions of families and finance.  Prebble’s ‘Enron’, like Stefano Massini’s ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ (again a play) or Michael Lewis’ The Big Short (first a book and then a movie), all combine meticulous descriptions of complicated financial affairs – marvels of sophisticated technology – with engaging villains.  Enron remains a parable for our times because the symbolism of cutting edge markets, of globalization run rampant, and of unconstrained technological enthusiasm embedded in the American psyche is both symptomatic of our time and yet somehow timeless.  As a result, long after we forget the details of the corruption itself, Enron will remain an inkblot onto which we will continue to project the concerns of our times.

Christopher McKenna

Global History of Capitalism Project, University of Oxford

Book Tickets

University of Oxford Student Company: TheatreGoose

Age guideline: 14+

Full Circle and Enjoy get 50% off a pair of tickets for opening night or Saturday matinee.

undefined tickets available.

 

People Who Booked Enron Also Booked For...

  • Macbeth

    Fri 6 - Sat 7 Dec

    Camped in the heart of the jungle, Macbeth wants to be king. Old Duncan sits at the head of an unstable military regime. Witches lurk in the tropical heat. Hearing a prophecy that proclaims him king, Macbeth and his wife are willing to kill for the crown. But, in the dark sweat of the jungle, the Macbeths cannot escape their own minds. Shakespeare’s classic psychological thriller sees am...

  • Malcolm the Miserable

    Fri 6 - Sat 7 Dec

    Vincent is a broke children’s author left reeling from a recent breakup and the death of his beloved dog. Malcolm is his foul-tempered, narcissistic cat. When the two are left alone in the world together, they must learn to put up with one another in spite of their numerous clashes. Hilarity and chaos ensue as Malcolm attempts to assert dominance over his owner while Vincent tries to men...

  • Crazy For You

    Mon 20 - Sat 25 Jan 2020

    In a world of showgirls and cowboys, Gershwin’s musical comedy is the classic tale of a city boy and a country girl who fall in love and try to save a theatre… the old-fashioned way! Stage-struck banker Bobby Child desperately longs for a career in show-business. Whilst working out-of-town Bobby falls for postmistress Polly Baker whose father owns the crumbling Gaiety Theatre. Bobby dec...

We use cookies on this website to improve how it works and how it’s used.

Accept & Continue