ENRON and Seeds Joint Study Guide
by Karen Gilodo
What is a corporation? Merriam-Webster online defines it as the following:
cor·po·ra·tion noun \ˌkȯr-pə-ˈrā-shən\
1. A large business or organization that under the law has the rights and duties of an individual and follows a specific purpose.
a : a group of merchants or traders united in a trade guild
b : the municipal authorities of a town or city
2. A body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession
3. An association of employers and employees in a basic industry or of members of a profession organized as an organ of political representation in a corporative state.
Corporations are believed to have originated in the 17th Century with the British East India Company and have since then taken on many different models and business constructs. Much has been gained thanks to corporations. Innovation and ingenuity, jobs, and social progress are just a few things for which we can be grateful, but in the last one hundred years and indeed in the last 20 especially, corporations have had major influence on almost every decision a person makes, many of which can be negative and harmful.
ENRON and Seeds are plays that theatrically investigate some of the ramifications apparent when corporations explode in growth and have political capital to spare. The plays deal with the very best and worst of humanity, the best being a desire to succeed in one's profession, to innovate, and to profit from hard work. The flip side of these worthy endeavours is corrupt ambition, the search for and exploitation of loopholes, and greed. At what point does one worthy endeavour turn into questionable (and in the case of ENRON, criminal) behaviour? As students discuss the play they have seen and work through the exercises in this guide, they will have the opportunity to question, philosophize, and debate. It is the goal of this guide to prompt students to use the experience of seeing a production as a jumping off point for critical analysis and discussion.