Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #621 - WAD Review - "Glengarry Glen Ross”

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #621 - WAD Review - "Glengarry Glen Ross”

Hi Mom,

Not much preamble as I am ill.

Wanted to give this one all positives, but I had a few negatives that I felt compelled to share.

Link to Enquirer post -


Here's what I turned in (in case it's different).......

"Glengarry Glen Ross”
a production of What A Do Theatre
Attended Date: March 17, 2017
reviewed by Christopher Tower

Though it won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1984, “Glengarry Glen Ross” remains a little produced and little known gem outside of the thespian-insider world. A 1992 film starred Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, and Alan Arkin, and yet most people are still not well-acquainted with David Mamet’s award-winning play of Chicago real estate agents desperate to sell regardless of any ethical or legal shady areas.
The name itself is enigmatic as it refers to two properties that represent the characters’ unethical sales and yet in true Mamet style it intrigues and lures potential audience members into this cess pool of a story.
Known for producing award-winners and for the cutting edge, “Glengarry Glen Ross” seems the perfect choice for the What A Do Theatre (WAD). And the Springfield theater furthers its reputation of smart choices by mixing the all male cast with a woman (Betsy King) in the role of loud-mouthed Dave Moss, now just Moss, played in the 1992 film by Ed Harris. Not only is this a smart choice for a show frequently accused of misogyny, but it’s windfall for WAD as Betsy King proves to be the show’s best performer.
Joe Dely directs his second show for the professional company about David Mamet’s story of crooked victimizers hoping to unload undesirable properties on unwitting customers hoping to turn a tidy profit. Dely does not stint on the Mamet script that features torrents of vulgar profanity and dialogue that has brought the show underfire for prejudice. The effect is striking,  and Dely manages to ratchet the intensity to near fever pitch with as much skilled direction as he can muster, but the script and its language is not for those patrons who like something far removed from guttersniping and muck-raking.
Mamet’s scripts are known for what he can leave out. Language devolves from full words to syllables and sentence fragments. In “Glengarry Glen Ross” in particular, language is meant to be rapid fire with frequent overlap as people can’t wait for other people to finish speaking and run roughshod over them. The greatest flaw of this production is that this cast does not quite master that torrent of language with few if any pauses. Betsy King nails the tirades best with both her proposal that someone should rob the office and steal the coveted “leads” (prospects who may be bilked out of large sums for crappy properties) and then her follow up rant after being accused of the theft in the second act.
James King (Roma) has a very good outburst in the second act with one of the show’s most vulgar spewings, which really makes up for his first act speech that brought the show’s energy nearly to the nil mark. Bill Sutherland (George Aaaronow) also shows his best work in the second act as this is the high intensity part of the show, though his first act work is also well wrought.
Not counting two bit players, the other two main cast members struggle in their roles. Jeff Stierle is a fine actor with many great credits at WAD and beyond (“Sweeny Todd”), but added late to this cast, he struggles to be consistent as Levene, the embittered has-been trying to strike gold again. At times, Stierle is masterful with his sweat-streaked face and flushed cheeks aiding his huffing and puffing about the stage as he wheedles, cajoles, and crows but also manages to quite well foreshadow his ultimate defeat. But though valiant, he is challenged to unify the whole of his performance, especially in the first act.
Likewise, Ric Crow as Williamson never fully engages the clutch in gear with his role, despite having a couple of strong moments.
One feature of Joe Dely’s direction compares the salesmen to shambling brutes, like apes or chain gang slaves as they line up and parade in hunched-over fashion. This is an insightful comment on the human condition, though it could have been threaded throughout the production rather than used solely as an opening and closing motif.
Minimal sets and effects are part of WAD’s “unplugged” time slot, featuring fewer production elements than its bigger and more “mainstage” type shows. Effective music (especially Radiohead) provides proper mood and a great scene changer between acts. Lighting is effective especially in act two to show the glaring truth of the exposed immoral and reprehensible natures of these sales persons.
"Glengarry Glen Ross” is just as relevant today as it was in 1984, if not more so. Shady business practices, prejudices, and alcohol-fueled, vulgar tirades have hardly gone out of style. If anything, all three have come out into the light like never before in 2017. As always WAD is on the forefront with quality theatre that makes strong social commentary, but what it needs is full houses in its Springfield playhouse. "Glengarry Glen Ross” runs for just two weeks with one “pay what you can” night March 23rd. Don’t miss it.


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 623 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1703.19 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
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