Credit by Michael Mackenzie

15th Sept 2008 - 4am. A hedge fund manager, Jason, is scrambling to deal with the collapse of Lehman Bros when a young woman shows up. This is Cass, a semi-autistic mathematician and once senior analyst for his fund, back from a period of hospitalization. As Jason deals with his lawyers, his clients and creditors Cass talks about mime lessons, therapy, Christmas, her mother, movies and mathematics. And as things spiral out of control in the office and in the world outside, it becomes clear that these ramblings are very much to the point.


CASS is in her early twenties, a brilliant mathematician with significant deficits in her capacity for 'normal' human interaction. It would be easy to view her as the embodiment of a pathology ( Aspergers syndrome or somewhere on the on the autism spectrum), but to approach the character in this way, i.e. as a clinical diagnosis, would be mistake. She's a character to be understood in her own terms not in some clinician's, and although those terms are not transparent at the beginning a significant aspect of the play is the process of them becoming so. That said, she is just learning how to talk as opposed to simply speaking, i.e. learning to gauge the interaction of conversation - when to speak, when to stop speaking, how to address what has been said and incorporate a shared train of thought rather than being swept away by her own ideas and associations. Her fast chatter should be occasionally [and eerily] interrupted by sustained silences. She is trying very hard to be a socially-interacting being and that effort produces a kind of manic cheerfulness, with all the energy and velocity [she talks fast] of the apprentice stand-up comic learning their trade, listening for reactions but mostly just plunging ahead and grabbing for whatever works in this unfamiliar and exposed situation. Finally, all this should not obscure that she is smart, determined and ruthless about her agenda.

JASON is in his late forties and the founder and head of a Hedge Fund. That said, 'Hedge Funds' make up a pretty heterogeneous group both in their culture and how they make their money. For Jason, much of his character draws on my interviews with people from hedge funds, investment banks, etc. and the literature on how things happen (and how people talk to each other) in [mainly] Investment banks. His profile is Alpha Male, successful, both ruthless and charming when necessary. He is also dealing with the major crisis of
his life and heading in multiple directions at the same time - talking on the phone, continually checking the screens, reacting to her, his own thoughts, etc.