Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet. Free Rain Theatre Company directed by George Huitker. Courtyard Studio8 pm until May 26, 2001.
All those politicians who extoll the virtues of competition need to see this horrible little play about real estate salesmen. Maybe a stint in Mitch & Murray's office would be more effective than a few days in the army. On the other hand, they might learn to be even more underhand in their dealings from Mamet's all too accurate representation of men who must make a sale or lose their livelihood. Feels like an election coming on.
And they are are all men, so language flies at its worst, to such a point of exaggeration that it's hard not to laugh at times - until we realise that the loser really is a loser. Do not sell the Harbour Bridge: go to jail. No Monopoly money here - just the reality of capitalist competition.
David Mamet has written a USA Incorporated version of something like Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, but without the British "pause". These Americans talk flat out like Woody Allen, and it's not long (about 1 hour 20 minutes) before they self-destruct. A terrible existence, but an instructive drama.
Huitker is a master of movement, visual image and timing and has passed on to all his actors a consistent and precise style which this play requires: always just beyond the bounds of reality, yet therefore able to reflect the character types which inhabit this office from hell.
In fact, the ensemble quality of these actors, despite their such varied background experiences, means it's time to stop writing silly amateur biogs on the back of the program. Mamet and Huitker demand that the actors take themselves seriously, off stage as well as on stage where they are doing so well.
Technical production, set and costumes are all excellent. High energy and speed on the preview night might slow a little as the run settles. But this should only improve the play's bite. It might shake you out of complacency if you think competition trickle-down is the economic answer. Don't be at the bottom of the sales graph, because you'll just get pissed on. See this play for the experience.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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