For truly excellent and edgy theater, Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s production of “Glengarry Glen Ross” serves up a gripping experience. Director Rob Gallavan has assembled a balanced and talented cast and fit them into the CitySpace Theatre with deft and savage grace.
David Mamet’s dystopian play about the vicious and desperate undercurrents of real estate salesmen in the 1980s has rarely been embodied so well.
The men of the agency are a cluster of frustration, desperation and perverse ambition — all performed with skill and precision by the cast. These actors delivered an ensemble performance that revealed the depth and complexity of the relationships between these utterly flawed and often despicable men.
The narrative rises and crests in a controlled storm of humanity and wickedness that is compelling and supremely watchable.
Craig Pruitt gave us a Williamson who was twitchy and irritable in his authority, displaying his frustration and dislike for the men he manages. Robert Emmett McGill, as the declining and desperate Levine, ran the gamut from pleading distraction to an almost touching autocracy as Levine descends into the pit of his own corruption.
Ben Hall as Roma was philosophically venal toward both his mentor and his client, setting up scams to take money from both. Hall delivered a layered Roma, “performing” his long monologues as the sales pitches they are; intriguing and transfixing his targets, Hall never allowed a listener to slip away.
As the mercenary Moss, Jason Burkhart conveyed a coldly larcenous and manipulative man, fierce and without scruples, more than willing to destroy any of his colleagues. Darryl Cox performed the depressive Aaronow with a whining and hapless despair that surrounded the man like a cloud.
Richard Nelson did brilliant work in the role of Lingk, a client who succumbs to Roma’s pitch. The role has very few words, which requires the actor to carry the entire reality of Lingk in an embodiment of the character. Nelson gave us a whole man, with a difficult marriage and financial worries, in beautifully nuanced and diffident insecurity.
Mark Loftis was dependably workmanlike as the harried and insistent Detective Baylen, the police officer investigating a break-in. This role is catalytic; the presence of Baylen stirs the already simmering pot in the office. Loftis adeptly conveyed the urgent condescension of the investigator for the suspect/victim.
CitySpace is a deep-thrust, black-box theater with some spacing challenges; it’s a difficult room for light and for sound. The (uncredited) set designer made excellent use of the limited space. Lighting design by Taylor Knight and sound engineering by Jerome “JJ” Kight-Pagala served to enhance the story while remaining unobtrusive — technically difficult for both media in this space. Costume design by Christi Newbury also supported the production while remaining all but unnoticeable.
— Anna Holloway, for The Oklahoman
‘Glengarry Glen Ross’