Glengarry Glen Ross
March 23-31, 7:30 p.m.,
March 24, 31 2:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Benjamin A. Silva ’14
Produced by Civry P. Melvin ’14
In the world of real estate, you have to be smooth if you want to make an impact, and David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the industry, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” will smooth-talk its way into the Loeb Ex from March 22 to 31. When the production first appeared on Broadway in 1984, critics praised how the simple but striking dialogue conveyed the frustrations and anxieties of four Chicago real estate salesmen, and HRDC director Benjamin A. Silva ’14 is set on keeping the good praise coming.
“In general, my philosophy on a great work of theater is that, if it is enough to stand the test of time, you should really be faithful to the author,” Silva says. “I was drawn to the source material so much that I want to honor it as much as possible.” What he keeps is the stinging, idiomatic language that made the complicated relationships between coworkers at real estate firm “Mitch and Murray” so engrossing for audiences when the show first premiered.
The show in part revolves around young upstart Ricky Roma (Adam J. Conner ’14) and his washed-up mentor “Shelly” Levene (Daniel W. Erickson ’14.) “While [Roma] comes off as very friendly sometimes…he’s really just trying to further his own personal goals, almost like a modern-day, mammoth form of Iago from ‘Othello.’ This guy’s a dangerous character, and I wanted to see what I could do with him,” says Conner. Roma embodies the ideal of smooth-talking deceit and is the rising star in the office. Meanwhile, the burnt-out Levene represents the obsolescence of the firm’s older generation. “Getting that sense of maturity and having an entire life behind you that has eaten you apart while still trying to keep the same amount of energy going…it’s just something that I didn’t think I would have the capacity to channel,” says Erickson. “It’s just different than anything I’ve ever done.”
Silva, however, is not afraid of adding a personal touch. He includes two musical interludes, absent from the original production, that aim to capture what he feels is at the heart of the production. “[The office] just gets completely torn in this fantasy sequence, which shows a little bit more of the office life these guys have and the frustration that it builds,” says Silva.
With its combination of old and new material, “Glengarry Glen Ross” aims to recreate the show’s original impact. The question is, can it close?
— Brett A. Roche