By Ken Ferrigni

Directed by Chris Holcom

Jul. 10 – Aug. 2, 2015

Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm

Tickets: $28

Preview Performances: Jul. 8–9 | Wed. – Thr. 8pm | Tickets: $14

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

On This Page

What It's About

US Regional Premiere

China is not messing around: It’s time to go! The year is 2017. A crushing national debt, skyrocketing inflation, and crippling unemployment have frozen the United States’ access to global credit. Against the backdrop of economic catastrophe, the US government finds an unexpected savior when China purchases Florida for $5 trillion.

But there is a radical, violent insurgency holed up in the Everglades attempting to oust the Chinese proconsul and his army. How far will this militia go to keep the States united? This dark high-octane comic political allegory gets its eastern US regional premiere in Tampa.

Originally produced Off-Broadway at TBG Theatre where it topped numerous “Best of 2013” lists, Occupation just saw a west coast premiere at LA’s Sacred Fools. Jobsite is extremely proud to bring this play “home” for the first time.

Jobsite has a long-standing history of producing political satires such as Tim Robbins’ Embedded, Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and We Wont! Pay! We Won’t Pay!

Idiocracy-meets-Red Dawn doesn't begin to cover the result: The exciting young playwright Ken Ferrigni blends redneck caricature with hip-hop anarchy and giddy pessimism to create a suicide vest of a satire. – New York Magazine

J. Elijah Cho in Jobsite's Occupation. (Photo: Crawford Long.)

About The Playwright

Ken Ferrigni is the resident playwright at Project: Theater. New York plays include Mangella (“A virtual, LOL hoot” – NY Post) and ANGEL/BUDDY (Backstage Magazine Critic’s Pick, New York International Fringe Festival). His one-act play Swing State was evaluated at the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. He has written for taxdeductible theatre’s “Dare Project” and writes and performs regularly at Project: Theater’s actor/writer’s collective, Our Bar. Additionally, he has written several plays for young audiences at the Dynamo Light Opera Company in California. Ken graduated in 2008 from the FSU/Asolo conservatory where he was last seen in The Drawer Boy, and at Banyan Theatre in Old Wicked Songs.

Critic Reviews

Ferrigni's satiric, smart script is filled with wonderfully dark humor and an ear for surrealist dialogue. If you like your humor like coffee-purists like their java--extremely black--then this show is for you. ...Occupation is funny, cutting, off-the-charts bizarre, intense, and yet meaningful. – BroadwayWorld

enough cursing to make you think Quentin Tarantino had a hand in writing it. So leave the kids at home. If this were a movie, we’d be solidly in R-rated territory ... a thought-provoking piece, and if theatergoers are looking for something different from a lighthearted musical, it’s worth the ticket price. – Tampa Tribune


Cast & Crew

  • Chris Holcom – Director
  • Miriam Rochford – Stage Manager


  • Emily Belvo – Mei Mei
  • Katie Castonguay – Kell
  • J. Elijah Cho – Deng
  • Carlos Garcia – Florian
  • Nathan Jokela – Gare
  • Marlene Peralta – Bets

Additional Voice/Audio

  • Ned Averill-Snell – Bay Ray Hale
  • Emily Belvo, Nicu Brouillette, Chris Holcom, David M. Jenkins, Kevin Spooner, Gi Young Sung – Newscasters, Politicians, etc.


  • Ryan E. Finzelber – Lighting Designer
  • Kaylin Gess – Scenic Designer
  • David M. Jenkins – Sound and Video Designer
  • Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer

Patron Reviews

We enjoyed the show! My wife and I were pleased to see Emily Belvo in the play. We saw her in “Bethany” earlier this year, and she’s a great comedic actress. She would be a great correspondent on The Daily Show. – David M. Bryant

Occupation is a quintessential Jobsite show. I thought last year it could be the highlight of the season and it is. The 14-15 season ends with a bang. – David Hood

Congrats to the cast and crew of Occupation! Get your tickets, y’all! Don’t miss this one! – Lauren Field

Got sneak peak of @jobsitetheater’s#OccupationFL & this is NOT a show to miss! Think mashup of Hunger Games, Red Dawn, & Raising Arizona. – @notReganMoore

Thank you for another wonderful production. – Sandra Roth

We really enjoyed the show! It’s so great to see local talent. Let’s see as much of them as possible! – Carylanna Taylor

I really enjoyed the show last night — great performances, a compelling story, and my girl’s last show at Jobsite. Congrats on a successful preview and break all the legs during the run. – Paige Gilley

Had a great time tonight seeing Occupation at Jobsite Theater … Everyone did a stellar job. Break legs for the rest of the run guys! Seriously though, go see this show. – Julia Rudgers

Just saw OCCUPATION at @jobsitetheater and DAMN IT WAS FUN! Great performances and excellent production. See this play! Runs til Aug. 2! – @labelleartiste

4 Responses

  1. Dear Jobsite. I do not remember if I’ve ever seen any of your productions. But I have heard much about you and have always believed in what you do. I would love to donate to you. Is there a way to do so on line?

  2. Oh for the good old days when playwrights like Williams, O’Neill, Inge, Anderson, Hansberry, Hart, et al. wrote plays, often long ones (cf. O’Neill) without using a single fuck, goddam, or other obscenity! Okay, so maybe a damn or two. But they were able to get the point across and entertain an audience without heaping obscenity after obscenity on the audience. If the obscenities were removed from Mr. Ferrigni’s script there wouldn’t be much script left – and his play would not have been so tedious.

    At Friday night’s performance the Jobsite Claque received “Occupation” with enthusiasm – I wish I could have joined them. After being turned off by the heavy-handed use of obscenities, I found Ms. Peralta extremely hard to understand. Her fucks and goddams came through loud and clear, but I assume there was serious dialogue that I did not get because I could not understand her. Ms Castonguay was easier to understand, but still difficult to understand.

    The production was interesting and Mr. Holcom is to be commended for his efforts, but “Occupation”? – ho-hum.

    Last week I renewed my Jobsite subscription for another year.

    Robert Williams

    1. Mr. Williams,

      First, thank you for being a valued friend of the company and for your continued support of our work. We truly appreciate you. I know that you have been with us for a very long time.

      On to the show: I’m sorry that you found the language in the play distasteful and heavy-handed. Not to be too flip, but I received more than one stinging email similarly complaining about the language in Twelfth Night. From the tone of those comments, you’d consider Shakespeare’s comedy as equally as offensive as the admittedly obscenity-laden Occupation. In the case of both plays, we also know the language within will also be a selling point to many, for many reasons that I won’t get into here (brevity isn’t always my strongest suit). We know that Occupation will not be for everyone. No more than Annapurna, Orlando, Twelfth Night, Vampire Lesbians, or Ballyhoo were. Subjective stuff is subjective and we’re doing our best to reach all corners of our community. That means a commitment to a wide array of voices. I think you know our body of work is in line with that claim considering how long you’ve been with us. Instead of viewing those in attendance who enjoyed the work as a “claque,” perhaps consider that their sensibilities are just different than yours? They similarly may not get the attraction to Hart or Hansberry …

      As to the clarity of the performers: I will be sure to pass that on so they can raise their awareness. If we’re going to offend, we may as well do so with good diction … Kidding aside (and I am simply making light), I want to stress that I value the feedback. I always appreciate it: good, bad, and indifferent. It helps me personally, it helps the company. We need to know where we’re doing right and with whom just as much where we may be falling short. I’m sorry that you were ho-hummed by Occupation and I sincerely hope that we do better by you next time. Let me know? Dialogue like this is important to “this thing we call show.”

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