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Glengarry Glen Ross
a Comedy/Drama
by David Mamet

COMPANY : Pinch n' Ouch Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Pinch 'n' Ouch Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5122

SHOWING : August 31, 2017 - September 23, 2017



Always. Be. Closing.
"Wonderfully funny… A play to see, remember and cherish." - New York Post

Director Grant McGowen
Detective Baylen TJ Jackson
Richard Roma Grant McGowen
John Williamson Jeff Morgan
Dave Moss Chip Powell
Shelly Levene John Schmedes
George Aaronow Ethan Smith
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Glengarry Glen Flaws
by playgoer
Friday, September 1, 2017
The first act of David Mamet’s "Glengarry Glen Ross" consists of three two-person scenes in which one person speaks a near-monologue while the other listens and occasionally tries to break in. The success or failure of these scenes depends primarily on the actor delivering the monologue. Plot points and character traits need to come across strongly.

The first scene is between salesman Shelly Levene (John Schmedes), desperate to get good leads on prospective real estate buyers, and John Williamson (Jeff Morgan), the by-the-book office manager. Mr. Schmedes makes this scene a tour-de-force of desperation, wheedling and cajoling and lashing out in turn. Mr. Morgan is strong in his quiet resistance. Their interplay sparkles, although on opening night there may have been some professionally covered line bobbles. The intensity and rhythm were there no matter what.

The second scene introduces us to two more salesmen. Dave Moss (Chip Powell) rails and rants about work conditions and suggests staging a robbery of their office, while George Aaronow (Ethan Smith) attempts to fathom what Dave is really proposing. Mr. Powell drives through the scene like a Mack truck, exploding with power. Mr. Smith’s lack of experience in scripted theatre shows, primarily in his lack of projection and a lack of rhythm in his attempted interruptions. His facial expressions, though, and his delivery of uninterrupted lines is beautifully comic.

These first two scenes work well, although I believe on opening night there might have been some dialogue dropped that clarifies the sales contest going on. The third scene is another matter. In this scene, salesman Richard Roma (Grant McGowen) pitches a sale to James Lingk (Nigel Marson). There is nothing of the slick salesman in Mr. McGowen’s performance, and Mr. Marson has an almost transparent stage presence. The scene is almost boring as Mr. McGowen smokes leisurely and makes his points in a plodding manner.

While the first act all takes place in a Chinese restaurant, the second act takes place in the burgled sales office the next day. There is much more interplay, with a policeman (TJ Jackson) periodically entering and summoning one individual or another for questioning about the overnight break-in. Triumphs turn into failures in the course of the act, with Mr. Schmedes’ character as the centerpiece. He makes the act his own, although all the actors acquit themselves fairly well.

The set works extremely well for the small space. Three sets of Venetian blinds hang down to suggest walls, with a door and a green chalkboard on opposite walls. A shadow box of a city skyline behind two of the blinds does a lovely job of suggesting the urban location. A rectangular table and gray stools fill the center section of the stage for both acts, with an orange print tablecloth (and great food props) in the first act nicely suggesting a Chinese restaurant. Courtney Lakin’s costumes work well to suggest the business environment, and Mr. McGowen’s lighting and sound design enhance the action (despite one lighting flub on opening night).

Pinch ’n’ Ouch’s "Glengarry Glen Ross" is an uneven production with its second cast in place. (The first cast appeared in a run from August 3-26.) Mr. McGowen the director has let Mr. McGowen the actor down. The characters of Levene and Roma are supposed to have had a long history together, but Mr. McGowen appears to be so much younger than others with a supposedly shorter history that the relationship doesn’t ring true. We have a couple of powerhouse performances from Messrs. Schmedes and Powell, a solid performance from Mr. Morgan, and lackluster performances otherwise. The power of Mamet’s script comes through, but diluted. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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