A master work of modern theatre about greed, desperation and ruthless ambition, New Theatre presents David Mamet‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross, in a limited season from 16 March 2021.
Lies. Greed. Corruption. It’s business as usual in the cut-throat world of real estate sales. This pack of wolves will do anything to score the prime ‘leads’. They’re grinding out a living pushing plots of land onto reluctant buyers in a never-ending scramble for their share of the American dream.
Flattery, bribery, threats, intimidation, burglary; as their desperation reaches fever-pitch they will engage in unethical, even illegal, behaviour if it’ll snag them a sale and that all-important commission. The mantra is simple: Close the deal and you’ve won a Cadillac; blow the lead and you’re f****d.
David Mamet’s lacerating satire won the 1983 Olivier Award for Best Play and the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was later adapted by the playwright into a film starring Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey and Jonathan Pryce.
Originally written for an all-male cast, this production will blur the gender lines to reveal startling and unexpected insights into Mamet’s depiction of blunt, brutal, toxic masculinity.
As relevant now as it was three decades ago, this brilliant, scathing comedy, infused with humanity and honesty, will provoke both laughter and chills in anyone who’s ever questioned unbridled capitalism. Never forget: Trump started out in real-estate!
New Theatre’s Artistic Director Louise Fischer is in the director’s seat, following on from her recent productions of two other modern American classics: The Grapes of Wrath and August: Osage County. “Mamet’s play has become such a classic in the theatrical canon that I felt a little overawed when taking it on,” says Louise.
“What’s been fascinating to explore are the underlying fears, insecurities and desires of the characters, which are very real and recogisable. The play is far more than just ‘men behaving badly’; it’s a profoundly insightful study of people thrust into a particularly stressful situation: in this case, the huge pressure to ‘close the deal’.”
The play was written for an all-male cast. Of her decision to gender-swap some of the roles, Louise explains: “I wanted to revisit this classic through an new prism, to underscore that it’s still relevant today. In the play, the real estate agents are the great seducers; clinching the deal provides a similar euphoria to making a sexual conquest.”
“I wanted to push this metaphor further. There have been productions that cast all the characters as women, but I felt that a gender mix would be far more challenging and create a sexual tension which, we have discovered, is actually present in the text. The result has been some very “interesting” moments in rehearsals.”
The cast consists of New Theatre alums Adrian Adam (August: Osage County; Hay Fever), Ben Brock (House of Games), Mark Langham (House of Games, Book of Days), Caroline Levien (The Heidi Chronicles, The Diary of Anne Frank), Hannah Raven (The Women), Meg Shooter (Angry Fags), Andrew Simpson (The Grapes of Wrath, Collaborators), and making his New Theatre debut, NIDA graduate Oliver Burton, whose ‘other life’ is spent as a real estate auctioneer and buyer’s agent!
The production team includes Tom Bannerman (set), Michael Schell (lighting), Claudia Lafoy (costumes), Glenn Braithwaite (sound), David Cashman (composer), and Benjamin Purser (voice and dialect).
David Mamet is an American playwright, essayist, screenwriter and film director, and has written a number of iconic plays including Boston Marriage, American Buffalo, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Oleanna, Speed-the-Plow and Edmond.
As a screenwriter, he wrote two classic satires – State and Main about Hollywood and Wag the Dog about politics – but his main body of work concentrates on the male worlds of hardboiled criminals, confidence men and cops with films such as The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict and House of Games.
Director: Louise Fischer Featuring: Adrian Adam, Ben Brock, Oliver Burton, Mark Langham, Caroline Levien, Hannah Raven, Meg Shooter, Andrew Simpson Set Designer: Tom Bannerman Lighting Designer: Michael Schell Costume Designer: Claudia Lafoy Sound Designer: Glenn Braithwaite Composer: David Cashman Accent/Vocal Coach: Benjamin Purser Production Manager: Rosane McNamara Stage Manager: Doug Cairns Operators: Ole Borch, Ricci Costa
Glengarry Glen Ross
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 17 March – 10 April 2021 (preview: 16 March)
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: © andamanec/Shutterstock/Christina Hatzis