2004: Bartleby: A Story of Wall Street

Adapted by R.L. Lane from the novella by Herman Melville
Directed by Jonathan Holloway
Designed by Neil Irish
Music composed by Ross Brown

2 x Touring Productions in 1996 and 2004

“I could tell you stories to make you good-natured gentlemen laugh …you sentimental souls weep.
But no. I would waive them all to relate a few passages in the life of Bartleby,
who was a scrivener, the strangest I ever saw or heard of!”

Bartleby. Revival of Red Shift’s celebrated 1996 Edinburgh Festival production.

Wall Street. 1850s. Standard, a prosperous lawyer, hires the mild-mannered Bartleby to join his staff of scriveners who must spend their days copying documents page for page, line for line, word for word.

The fragile harmony of Standard’s team of eccentric drones is upset by Bartleby’s silent dedication. When, without warning, the spectral newcomer stops working simply because he “would prefer not to”, the office slides towards chaos in a theatre event that veers wildly from farce to tragedy and back again.

Its portrayal of a lonely, inexplicably afflicted figure whose actions test the tolerance, indeed the humanity of his fellow men goes to the heart of our own treatment of the damaged and dispossessed.

Supported by The Big Issue and MIND