Batavia’s Albright Theatre kicks off its 50th season with a workplace comedy that hits close to home in today’s age of artificial intelligence.

“The Desk Set,” written by William Marchant, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16-17, 24 and March 1-2 and at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Albright Theatre in Batavia. Ayden Lopez of Schaumburg directs. It’s his first time directing at the Albright.

“I heard about it last year when we were picking shows for the new season, for the Albright 50th year celebration and I thought this would be a fantastic show to do. It ended up being picked for the season,” he said. “I offered to direct it. I thought the story was really funny and sweet.”

“The Desk Set” follows the story of Bunny Watson, who happens to have a fantastic mind for facts and figures and who works in a television network reference department.

When powerful computers (called electronic brains) are installed to do the work of people and threaten to replace whole departments, Bunny and her office girls lead the charge to save their jobs.

“Shenanigans happen, miscommunication occurs and things backfire,” he said. Without giving away too much, it all works out in the end. Plus, there’s some office romance, as well.

One could draw a parallel to computers in the 1950s to AI being incorporated into the world today, he said.

“This show kind of hearkens back to that, when computers were first being installed in the work place and people were like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to lose my job,’” he said. “I thought it was appropriate for nowadays.”

The cast of 12 is doing a great job, he said.

“I love my cast. There’s a phenomenal group of people to work with and they’ve made my job a lot easier,” he said.

Lopez has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in theater but is much more comfortable acting rather than directing. He played Mr. Green in the Albright’s recent production of “Clue.”

“This is my first time stepping back into (directing) in a professional setting in many, many years,” he said. “I was scared at first, I’m not going to lie. I thought it was a daunting task to take on but I love the show so much … and I think it’s working out pretty well.”

The play is set in the 1950s, which led to a bit of a challenge for his young cast. But they’re risen to the task remarkably, he said.

“It’s definitely different. There are some speech things they do … but my cast has done a fantastic job of making it sound natural,” he said.

Audiences will love this show, he said, which isn’t actually done very often.

“Everyone in the world needs a good pick-me-up. It’s endearing no matter who walks in,” he said. “Anyone can find the humor in it. The story is really sweet and anyone can connect with it.”

Next up in the Albright’s 50th season is “Macbeth,” opening April 19.

‘The Desk Set’

When: Feb. 16-March 2

Where: Albright Community Theatre, 100 N. Island Ave., 3rd floor, Batavia

Tickets: $18-$23

Information: 630-406-8838;

Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for the Courier-News.

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