Glengarry Glen Ross - The Play Ground

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Glengarry Glen Ross
Joslyn Danielson

One aspect of art is to take something and see it in a different light, and that is exactly what Director Lawrence Lee did with this production of Glengarry Glen Ross. Although traditionally an all male cast, Lee decided to think outside of the box and see what would happen if this show was performed with all female actors without altering the original script. In his director’s notes, Lee explains that since there are no changes to the script, “This means women refer to each other as ‘he’ and have un-likely names such as ‘Dave’.” His intent is clearly to bring the audience out of their comfort zones, give them new perspective on art, and give them something to talk about.
It is arguable whether or not he succeeded in his endeavors. The actresses were all superb in showing an aggressive side without being overly “butch”. After a while one could argue that their genders eventually dissolved into the story line and it almost became easy to forget the strangeness of the casting. However, it did have a negative effect on the reality of the show and aesthetic distance was heightened. It was much easier to remember that the people on stage were clearly acting. Although from an artistic standpoint, the show was successful in creating something to get the audience thinking and appreciate the thought put into it.
The actresses all worked very well together and had exceptional give and take. In the first act the show is categorized by pairs of women that come on at separate times. There was always a clear aggressor and a clear follower and the relationships between the two were clear and often quite hilarious. The string of profanities was endless and taken in the context of women, it made it even more laughable in parts.
Each actress did well in portraying her own specific character and reacting well to the situations presented. Desperation was clearly the main selling point for the characters as they struggled to earn money to survive. Priscilla McRoberts did this extremely well. Playing salesman Richard Roma, her acting and personality out-shined the rest of the cast as she sinisterly laughed and cackled in her own desperation. Her scene with nervous client James Lingk (Michelle Strand-Juntunen) was especially hilarious and she did well at portraying the slick salesman with the hidden agenda.
The set was small, to the point, and worked well for what it needed to accomplish. A singular booth at a Chinese restaurant was the sole set piece for the first act and was all that was needed. The second act set was more complex and had many parts. It well exhibited the chaotic working office and although small, accomplished what was needed of it.
The costumes had a similar simplicity. Each woman wore a professional looking pant-suit that one might see a modern salesman wearing. They were all mostly women’s clothing despite the characters being male. This was a little confusing but left room for lots of imagination.
The show was definitely something else. It got the audience thinking outside of the box and provided a whole new perspective to the true art of theatre. It was well performed and very entertaining. The viewers had to consciously look past the strange casting. One might be compelled to say that the show didn’t work, but it’s clear that it wasn’t meant to.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Harvey published on October 26, 2012 10:00 AM.

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