note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey
The Stanley B Theater Company gets its teeth into David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" and serves up a dark, disturbing version of the black comedy.
Mamet's prize winning paean to real estate salesmen sprung from his own experience selling swampland to unsuspecting Chicago seniors (before he discovered a more lucrative game --- in the arts!). Mamet paints a horrifyingly smug picture of the thrill of the sale. All the salesmen in "Glengarry Glen Ross" subscribe to the scum ethic where duping the buyer is considered "admirable" .... a fine art even.
Dire David Miller goes for 'mean and lean' over laughs --- and he devises a slick counterpoint for Act I, interspersing conversations at a Chinese Restaurant in order to contrast styles: for Shelley, the desperate "machine", the cocky Moss who tries to 'sell a salesman'; and the pit bull of land sharks, Ricky Roma.
Dennis Strahan is wonderfully creepy as the cold-hearted "company man"; Bruce Serafin is frighteningly intense as Roma; Stephen Epstein gives a masterful performance as the former golden-boy salesman down on his luck; Gary Galone gets a chilling meltdown scene; Paulo Branco is perfection as a jumpy cop; and Bill Stambaugh is the quintessential lamb going to the slaughter. It's John O'Brien who gets to bring the play home with the last word --- and he gets sympathy because he's the only one who hates what they do.
The Stanley B set(s) are first rate, making every inch of the Leland Center sing. Kudos to the company for revisiting an old property and giving it a fresh perspective...and a damn good sell.