Josef Gross (Andrew Gross in the Wilson translation), a director of an unnamed organization, receives a memorandum written in Ptydepe, a constructed language, about an audit. He finds out that Ptydepe was created to get rid of similarities between words, such as fox and box, and emotional connexions. He tries to get someone to translate the memorandum for him, and gradually becomes opposed to the use of Ptydepe. Gross finally finds a reluctant secretary named Maria (Alice in the Wilson translation) who explains that, while she can translate the memorandum, she does not yet have a permit to do so.
The next day, his deputy Jan Ballas (Max Balas in the Wilson translation) takes over Gross's job. Gross becomes a "staff watcher", someone who spies on the workers of the unnamed organization. Meanwhile, Maria gets fired for translating Gross's memorandum. The last few Ptydepe learners in the organization give up learning. After a while, Ballas gives his job back to Gross. Ptydepe is replaced with another language, Chorukor, one with very extreme similarities between words so as to make learning it easier, but finally it is decided to get back to the mother language. The play ends up with most of the characters going to lunch.
- Josef Gross (Andrew Gross)
- Jan Ballas (Max Balas)
- Pillar (Victor Kubs)
- Maria (Alice)
- Helena (Talaura)
- Stroll (Ken Masat)
- Savant (Sid Maher)
- George (Josh)
- Thumb (Ms. Kalous)
- Lear (J. V. Brown)
- Havel, Václav. The Memorandum. Faber and Faber, 1989.
- Havel, Václav. The Memo. Theater 61 Press, 2012.
- "The Memorandum | Introduction" Theater 61 Press website
- Nelson Pressley (July 8, 2006). "Vaclav Havel's Point Is Sharpened to a Keen Edge In Comic 'Memorandum'". The Washington Post.
- "Thoughts on Vaclav Havel’s – The Memorandum", Elizabeth Doty, March 18, 2008
- "The Memorandum | Introduction", enotes
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