VOL. 126 | NO. 187 | Monday, September 26, 2011
Theatre Memphis Delves Into Real Estate
By JON W. SPARKS
David Mamet’s profane and powerful “Glengarry Glen Ross” gets a sharply edged treatment at Theatre Memphis’ Next Stage.
“Glengarry Glen Ross”
Runs through Oct. 2
7:30 p.m. Thursdays
8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays
2 p.m. Sundays
Theatre Memphis, 630 Perkins Road Ext.
Tickets: $23 adults/$15 students
For more info: 682-8323, www.theatrememphis.org
The smaller performance area is well suited to showcase the explosive cluster of stressed real estate agents who are constantly hoping to close the deal. To get there, they pitch, bully, cajole and threaten. And that’s just each other.
When it comes to the potential buyer – or mark, since this is all about the con – the wheedling becomes high art, essential to staying high on “the board” that starkly reveals the top sellers and implicitly judges the rest.
Director Tony Isbell has a sure hand with the production and has collected a solid cast to handle these characters struggling for a slice of the pie.
Jerry Chipman is terrific as the aging Shelly Levene, once a top salesman and now desperately struggling to hang on. Chipman gives a compelling performance, nailing Shelly’s stuttering, needy loser as well as his smooth, confident improviser.
Barclay Roberts is extraordinary, using his physical presence and great timing as Moss, the blustery weasel who is gifted at manipulation but can’t pull off a sale.
The most theatrical is John Moore in the plum role of Ricky Roma, the smoothest, most philosophical of all the salesmen, gifted in his pitch and heartless in his actions.
Other cast members fill out this tragic look at the American Dream: Ryan Kathman’s wily office manager, James Dale Green’s baffled salesman who seems always left behind, Adam Remsen’s excellent take as a timid buyer and Nick Kourvelas as the no-nonsense detective.
The sets are finely rendered by Christopher McCollum. The first act is inside a Chinese restaurant where we are introduced to most of the cast in pairs. It’s virtually all dialog and scant action that establishes who these men are, with character flaws exposed in all rawness.
The second act is in the grubby office, freshly burgled and crackling with tension. Here is where the triumphs and disasters are measured and recounted and the sellers of dreams play out their lonely ambitions.
Don’t miss this terrific production of a vital, and tough, American classic.