The folks over at Wiess College Tabletop are not kidding when they caution would-be attendees of Glengarry Glen Ross on the Facebook event page that the play "contains strong language."
With a dazzling array of f-bombs, s-bombs, sexual slurs used in colorful combinations, the crude language is a good choice that propels the play in getting across its overarching sense of anger, desperation and sheer madness.
David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play centers around a real estate office fraught with deception that ranges from false flattery to downright criminal acts of bribery and theft. The goal of the story's four main salesmen - selling worthless real estate - is simple enough, but the stakes are high: the man with the most sales wins a Cadillac, the second-place salesman wins a set of steak knives and the last two unlucky
guys are fired.
The criminal behavior of almost everyone in the play within the context of the cruel and arbitrary competition serves as a microcosm of the cutthroat world of capitalism gone wrong. The directors, Wiess senior Brian Biekman and Wiess junior Vanessa Jones, elegantly capture Mamet's social commentary in this sharp and aggressive production.
The four competing salesmen are the woebegone Shelley Levene (Wiess junior Max Payton), the manipulative Moss (Wiess freshman Morgen Smith), the insecure George Aaronow (Wiess sophomore Connor Winn) and the smooth-talking Richard "Ricky" Roma (producer and Wiess sophomore
Sean Doyle). When these characters, each with varying personalities but all driven by the same devious motive, interact on stage, the results are entertaining.
The antagonizing office manager John Williamson (Baker College senior Daniel Echeverri), the weak-minded client James Lingk (Wiess senior Ife Owoyemi) and the no-nonsense detective Baylen (McMurtry College sophomore Corey Palermo) round off this excellent ensemble. Each actor effectively captures a different facet of this
Changing the gender of the character Dave Moss from a man into a woman (and renaming him as simply "Moss") adds an interesting dimension to the play's exploration of what it means to be "manly" and aggressive in this kill-or-be-killed world. Smith, as the only freshman and only female cast member, succeeded in delivering a satisfying performance as Moss.
Doyle's performance as Roma is particularly deserving of praise. His presence on stage, complete with his soaring speeches and angry tirades, is as bold and fearless as the character he
The sets, lighting and costumes successfully complement the ideas that the play is trying to get across. Set designer Weston Novelli, a Wiess junior, creates an excellent contrast in the first two acts by starting the play in a minimally decorated Chinese restaurant and ending it in a perfectly chaotic
Light designer and Matt Keene, a Wiess junior, achieves similar contrast with the dimly lit restaurant scenes and the glaring lights that shine over the madness reigning in
Costume designer Daniel Burns, a McMurtry senior, outfits the characters in clothes that reflect their personalities: from Roma's snappy red suspenders and matching tie to Lingk's ill-fitting jacket that seems to hang limp from his lifeless frame, the small flairs to what would otherwise be bland business-casual attire complements the production.
Dark, vulgar and fast-paced, Wiess Tabletop's Glengarry Glen Ross is a production that takes a clever look at the American work life while consistently maintaining a witty tone that promises to entertain its audience.