It’s doubtful that locals will see anything quite like “Copy” at Theatre of NOTE anytime soon. Padraic Duffy’s precocious absurdist exercise is, for much of its length, strangely hilarious.
On Naomi Kasahara’s copier-dominated set, secretary Betty (fearless Gabby Sanalitro) and Boss (Troy Blendell, edgy yet sensitive) discuss his lunchtime dismay. Tuna isn’t what he ordered, so he leaves Betty, who buries her face in the offending sandwich with orgasmic gusto. Only Boss changes his mind, tuna’s fine, and hints of pathos appear.
Duffy’s scenario, which David L.M. McIntyre directs to a ramrodding fare-thee-well, concerns the office that Betty, Boss and their co-workers -- cheese-wielding Wendy (Cat Davis, a find) and grandiose explorer Brad (Stephen Simon, morphing Kevin Kline and John Cleese) -- occupy. Then there’s outsider Theo (Phil Ward, deftly understated), a Magritte-esque schlump with a feline obsession, and the new temp, sultry temptress Bed (adroitly deadpan Lauren Letherer). Nobody knows exactly what the company does, easily the least of Duffy’s textual gyrations.
As “Copy’s” rising action goes into wordplay overdrive and self-regenerating metaphor, it pops, thanks to the wonderfully attuned ensemble. Thus, when Davis’ wild-eyed Wendy breaks into Duffy and sound designer Peter Bayne’s bouncy Sapphic paean to Bed or Ward tries repeatedly to achieve cat commemoration, a weird vitality permeates the venue.