Simply Theatre starts their season off right with Glengarry Glen Ross

Simply Theatre kicks off their 2019/20 season with David Mamet’s highly successful play, Glengarry Glen Ross. Writer Caroline Russell-King offers up a postcard review of this performance.

Show: Glengarry Glen Ross.

Playwright(s): David Mamet.

Theatre: Simply Theatre, Joyce Doolittle Theatre, Pumphouse Theatres.

Length: Two acts (135 min., one intermission).

Genre(s): Drama.

Premise: The office politics and stakes of a 1980s America sales team, and the lengths they go to in order to get their name in the top position on the board for highest sales.

Why this play? Why now?: Although the play first premiered in the West End in London in 1983, it is somehow as timeless as ever in the present-day politics and culture of the USA.

Curiosity: I wondered how, subsequently, the play got more sanitized in its various incarnations (it would be a project to track the changes). I wondered how many professional theatres would program it today. I would be curious to see if anyone else watching it thought of theatre companies past like Theatre Junction and Ground Zero who were up to the challenge and sorely missed. Mamet has fallen out of favour in certain circles, making this a brave programming choice.

Best line: “Always Be Closing!”

Notable writing: This is an American classic. Winner of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, as well Tony nominations for Best Play … Mamet at his best.

Notable performances: A great ensemble, but special kudos to Fadi Saghir, Michael Brown and Jerry Callaghan for understanding the punctuation and making sure the repartee fires and crackles.

Notable design: The program doesn’t say who the set designer is, but whoever it is deserves a nod. 

Notable direction: James Noonan in his program notes says, “the process of bringing the play to the stage was both tedious and rewarding.” Fortunately, we only see the rewarding results!

One reason to see this show: “The good drama survives because it appeals not to the fashion of the moment, but to the problems both universal and eternal, as they are insoluble” – David Mamet. Bravo to Simply Theatre – this is not a simple play.

(Photo of Glengarry Glen Ross courtesy of Simply Theatre.)

Glengarry Glen Ross runs at the Joyce Doolittle Theatre until Sept. 14.

Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here