Review: Current Theatrics’ all-female ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’
Wed, Nov 14, 2012 (5:25 p.m.)
Photo: Richard Brusky
- Glengarry Glen Ross
- November 15-17, 7 p.m., $15
- Theatre 7, Official Movie Siteshowtix4you.com.
David Mamet’s early, hyper-masculine plays and their terse, repetitive and unapologetically vulgar dialogue have lodged themselves into popular culture as a template of a certain kind of manhood. So while Current Theatrics’ all-female version of Glengarry Glen Ross—playing at Theatre 7 through November 17—is kind of a stunt, it also takes balls.
Directed by Ruth Pe Palileo, the play concerns an office of real estate salesmen in the early ’80s, and the lengths to which they’ll go to close a deal. The production didn’t change any word in the play, so all character names and male pronouns remain intact. Gail K. Romero imbues Shelley Levene with an authentic desperation; Bonnie Belle can’t find a level of snakey menace as office manager/punching bag John; Anne Davis Mulford lights it up as the indignant Dave Moss; Valerie Carpenter Bernstein channels Woody Allen (sometimes to good effect, sometimes too much) to play George Aaronow; Marlene Shapiro is sharkish as top sales dog Ricky Roma; and Natalie Senecal plays James Lingk with a frightened believability.
It was enjoyable watching the cast attack the script with glee, bringing the rhythm and bellicosity of Mamet’s language to life. Still, at times I wished everyone would take a step back from the language, question its intent and focus on the actions demanded by the words, rather than just their poetry.
Also, too often the staging seemed to obscure, not illuminate, relationships. Shapiro’s sales seduction of Senecal was needlessly confusing, and the placement of Romero and Belle during the show’s final confrontation was exasperating, siphoning tension from what should have been a deadly scene.
Still, the power of the language and the energy of the actors come through in this production. The all-female casting might not have illuminated any new angles, but the stunt was fun to watch anyway.