Written by Terence Toh. All images by KuLT Productions.

Why do they call the office the ‘corporate jungle’? It’s because it’s full of strange animals.

And if you want to survive the highs and lows of the corporate life, you need to know all about each of them. Which you can do, with this handy-dandy guide, as prepared by the people behind The Working Dead musical!

(Note: this article is much improved if read aloud in a David Attenborough style voice)

Chan (played by Colin Kirton), the boss from ‘The Working Dead’ is glad mean bosses are not part of this article.

1. DISGRUNTLED DANNY

It seems that Disgruntled Danny’s Number One hobby is complaining, because that is all he does. Whether it’s the air-con being turned up too high, or the state of politics in the Czech Republic, DD will have something to gripe about. Woe to you if you accidentally take his stationery or forget to CC him in something: expect an angry email sent to the whole company!

2. SUCKUP SAM

Meet Derek (played by Brian Cheong) from ‘The Working Dead’. He’s one of these.

A ‘Yes-Man’ gone too far, Suckup Sam believes the fastest way up the corporate ladder is by flattering his boss. Suckup Sam will treat his boss with the kind of devotion usually reserved for medieval saints: he will laugh at all their terrible jokes, offer to fetch them tea, even breast-feed their children if necessary. Anything to get into their boss’s good books.

3. THE GOSSIP

This person has a hundred stories about what’s REALLY going on in the office: who doesn’t like who, who’s sleeping with who, the REAL reason we didn’t get bonuses this year, etc. How true the stories really are..depends. Could actually be a fantastic fantasy author.

4. THE NEWBIE

This person is usually a young, fresh-faced intern just out of college, with pockets bursting with dreams as he wants to make the world a better place, yay! The Newbie arrives at work singing a merry tune, and dear God, actually LOOKS FORWARD to group meetings. Many of them usually only last a couple of months before evolving, Pokemon-style, into Disgruntled Dannys.

5. THE MOM

Hooray for The Mom! Despite working a full time job, this person somehow always finds the time to cook delicious meals for everyone, and dispense sagely wisdom about everything from love to laxatives. Does not have to be an actual mother: just having a warm nature will do. More companies should be run by The Moms!

6. ANNOYING ANDY

This is the person who microwaves weird-smelling foods in the cafeteria, who sends office-wide memos in ‘SPOOKY KOOKY’ font, and always makes terrible, terrible puns. He steals stationery and never flushes the toilet. At 4.55pm during meetings, you can always count on him to raise his hand and say “Oh, one more thing,” before bringing up some horrible minor issue which somehow takes two more hours to discuss.

7. FIVE O CLOCK FRED

Joanne (played by Denise Yap) is a Five O Clock Fred. Or Frida!

Five O Clock Fred works here because he has no other choice, and will not stay any longer than he has to. Seeing one doing overtime is like seeing a tap-dancing unicorn. Once the clock reaches 4.59pm, he flees the scene like Cinderella from the ball, supposedly to “beat the traffic jam.” Pass him during work hours, and he is always watching a YouTube video, making everyone wonder how he gets any work done at all.

8. BACKSTABBING BERT

You spend all night on a project for your boss. The next morning, good ol’ BB claims it was his idea, and takes credit for it. You have fantasized about pushing him out a window many, MANY times.

9. THE LEGEND

Some people are legends because they are admirable. The Legend in this case, however, is not: he is a legend because no one can verify if he really exists. This character is often spoken about, but is hardly in the office, always on a ‘kursus’, a business trip, or maternity leave (even more impressive where The Legend is a man.) Somehow, he is ALWAYS the only person with some important file or document, meaning no work can be done until he returns in a glorious Second Coming.

10. THE ZOMBIE

Meet Edwin (Iz Sulaini.) He’s a corporate zombie

The opposite of The Legend, The Zombie stumbles in to work each day and does that, hardly talking to anyone unless absolutely necessary. No one is really sure what work The Zombie does or why it always takes so long to finish, but he or she has been in the office for so long that he’s almost part of the furniture. All he or she has is work and nothing else.

Do any of these sound like your colleagues? Do any of these sound like YOU? Maybe you’ve been spending too much time in the office. Which is something the new musical The Working Dead is all about!

Many of the personalities in the article above appear in The Working Dead, an all original, completely Malaysian-made musical comedy about family, work and zombies! It’s showing at Pentas 2, The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, from July 18-Aug 4! The show touches on sacrifice, work-life balance and corporate culture.

While there are zombies involved, this is NOT a horror musical: viewers are more likely to die of laughter than a zombie bite! The show takes a satirical look at modern corporate culture and the crazy things people do to succeed in business.

The Working Dead is the story of Edwin, a hardworking employee who works hard for his beloved wife, Sarah. When he dies unexpectedly on the job, his mean boss, Chan, hires a corporate bomoh to raise him up to finish his work. It’s up to Sarah and Edwin’s colleagues to save the day!

The musical is directed by Nicole Ann-Thomas, with book and lyrics by Terence Toh and music by Lydia Tong and Kelvin Loh. It stars Brian Cheong, Colin Kirton, Denise Yap, Iz Sulaini, Kirthana Kuhendran, Pryanka Rasa, Tina Isaacs, Zhafri Hassan, Zickry Yusoff and Zukhairi Ahmad.

Tickets are RM88 (regular) and RM68 (The Actor’s Studio card members, students, the disabled, senior citizens). There is also a flat rate of RM68 for all Tuesday and Wednesday shows.

The Working Dead is supported by The Actor’s Studio, Co-Labs Coworking and Paramount Properties. Tickets can be bought here! Have a show coming up? Send us a creative write up similar to this post to editors@eksentrika.com Press releases are old school, sorry. 

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