The Round House Theatre’s production of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” is a testosterone-filled theatrical experience that should not be missed. Directed by Mitchell Hébert, this play features brilliant performances by all with not one dead minute that allows you to think about plans for the next day. It’s just that great.
Set in 1984, “Glengarry Glen Ross” is the story of Chicago real estate salesmen, scratching to make a living, hunting for sales leads and doing whatever it takes to get those leads. It’s not a pretty picture, but boy, is it fabulous to watch. The play begins in a Chinese restaurant as we follow three different sets of two salesmen or clients and then the action seamlessly moves to the office. No one seems happy with their lot in life. Selling is hard. The highs of a sale are euphoric, but the downs can be more traumatic…where’s the next sale…who has the good lead…have I lost my mojo?
As noted earlier, all the actors give tremendous performances, but Rick Foucheux, Kenyatta Rogers and Alexander Strain must be singled out for special kudos. Foucheux is no stranger to DC audiences and as Shelly Levene, the down on his luck salesman who needs just one good lead to turn things around, or so he believes, literally reeks of desperation. This is one of Foucheux’s best portrayals ever. Strain’s Richard Roma simply astounds. He masterfully handles Mamet’s dialogue and his inflections are sheer perfection. Kenyatta Rogers’ character, John Williamson, the sales manager, starts off slowly and we wonder what he’s all about. But once he gets going, watch out. His scenes with Foucheux are especially dynamic.
Mention must be made of James Kronzer’s scenery. The Chinese restaurant is spot-on and when it transforms into the sales office, you will gasp in awe.
When you watch “Glengarry Glen Ross,” you can’t help but think of the other terrific play about salesmen, Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Both provide pretty bleak pictures of the salesman’s life. “Death” looks at the lonely life of the salesman on the road, while “Glengarry” showcases the inner working of the office and its camaraderie and competitiveness. I don’t know why anyone would choose the life of sales, but that life has inspired dramatic masterpieces.
When you exit the Roundhouse’s “Glengarry Glen Ross,” you’ll have witnessed theatre in all its richness. It’s what theatre is all about.
Through March 3
Round House Theatre
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814