Theater Review: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS By David Mamet

This is a play about angles, about conniving, about devil take the hindmost, where the only things that matter are money and making it.

By HELEN KAYE
July 31, 2016 20:28
1 minute read.
‘GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS’

‘GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS’. (photo credit: GERHARD ALON)

 
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They’re hag-ridden, sad sack has-been wannabes, the heroes in David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning (1984) Glengarry Glen Ross, real-estate salesmen selling dubious properties, whose pseudo- macho posturings deceive nobody, not even themselves, in the seedy firm they work for.

This is a play about angles, about conniving, about devil take the hindmost, where the only things that matter are money and making it. Forget about ethics, even common decency. It rang bells in the hedonistic 1980s but perhaps has a different resonance for us: Values matter, even if we pretend they don’t.

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Shelley Levene (Dov Glikman), once a top salesman, hasn’t had a bite for too long, blaming it on the poor leads office boss John Williamson (Ya’akov Daniel) gives him; he’ll get better ones, but it’ll cost him, all right? Envious Moss (Dvir Benedek) wants the goodies, provided that fearful-for-his job George Aaronow (Morris Cohen) does the dirty work for him. Smart operator Ricky Roma (Rami Hoiberger) makes his deals by preying on others’ weaknesses; he sells a plot to hen-pecked Lingk (Yishai Golan), never mind that he doesn’t want it. And driving it all is Mamet’s truncated, evasive, explosive, expletive-ridden dialogue, beautifully rendered into Hebrew by Yosef el-Dror.

There’s nothing here remotely appealing.

The action takes place in and outside Kinneret Kish’s bleak warehouse space, where a button operates the ugly corrugated steel main door. The clothes the men wear seem unkempt. Respect for anything or anybody is lacking. And underneath it all, they’re scared, all except for Williamson – he has clout you see.

Bouquets to Moshe Naor and his actors.

As superannuated Shelley, Glikman is always one step away from hysteria, a beautifully controlled performance. Benedek’s Moss is a nasty piece of work, manipulative and amoral. As Roma, Hoiberger is smart, suave; he can “smile and smile and be a villain.”

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Cohen’s Aaronow is marvelously uneasy; you see a basic decency held in check. Daniel’s cold, venal, watchful Williamson is beautifully underplayed, and you pity Golan’s Lingk, a muddled, weak man.

As Baylen, a cop, Yoav Bar Lev hasn’t much to do, but he makes his presence felt.

You don’t “enjoy” a play like this, but you may certainly admire a job well done. If Glengarry Glen Ross doesn’t make you wince, it should.

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