On Feb. 20 at the opening night of “Glengarry Glen Ross” the audience of the SUU Auditorium black box theater was transported into the world of competitive business.
Presented by SUU 2nd Studio, the fast paced dispute and edgy language of the investment banking scene had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
The play follows four real estate agents in New York City who attempt to sell undesirable properties (such as the Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms) to vulnerable potential buyers by any means possible, from flattery to intimidation.
The entire first half is static, keeping audience members just invested enough to keep watching. But when the set changes to the office scene a complex plot unravels as the men do anything to be at the top of the leaderboard, all while being pestered by the cop trying to catch the burglar that robbed the office the night before.
Directed by William Cowser, the show has a mere seven characters. But even with a small cast and minimalist set, the high energy shouting and constant dialogue made the show feel much larger than it was.
“Mammet has a language all his own. Every time a character cuts another off or shouts above someone else is written in the script,” shared audience member Peter Sham, associate professor of theatre at SUU. “The dialogue is fast paced poetry – it’s kind of like Shakespeare for the contemporary stage.”
True to the stereotype of a stressful business scene, a drastic amount of foul language is included in the show. This made it more intense, but it might be a good idea to leave Grandma and the kids at home for this one.
The play was written by David Mamet and debuted in 1984. Even more than 30 years after its first performance the show keeps on giving, even getting a film adaptation that was released in 2005. In Mammets words,
“What is not the purpose of drama is to make people better, to give them ideas…to teach, to reform, to espouse good causes. This is not the purpose of drama any more than it is the purpose of a joke…the purpose of drama is to entertain.”
From the simple first scene to the surprise ending, this show does exactly that.
Glengarry Glen Ross has three more showings on Friday Feb. 21, Saturday Feb. 22, and Monday Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the SUU Auditorium box office. For more information about 2nd Studio and their upcoming shows, visit here.
Story by: Larissa Beatty
Photos by: Larissa Beatty