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Cutthroat businessmen come to life in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’

Terri Roberts

BURBANK -- If ever there was a stage exercise in male machismo, David

Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” is it. Here, the Pulitzer Prize-winning

playwright uses the competitive world of real estate sales to explore the

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results of greed and anger fueled by desperation in this story about an

incentive contest that gives rise to resentment and cutthroat

competition, then spurring a robbery, an investigation, and one man’s

utterly demoralizing defeat.

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Mamet is noted for his sharp, sparse dialogue and strong male

characters, and in the production directed by Stan Roth playing at

Burbank’s Third Stage, both come to life in full determined force.

These men are a complex lot: Shelley Levene (Jay Gerber) is a

washed-up salesman of the old-school variety, now out of place and

frantically trying to get back on top to prove himself still worthy; John

Williamson (played, on the night reviewed, by D.J. Berg, replacing absent

James Henriksen), the young office manager with a hard-hat heart; Dave

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Moss (Jonathan Palmer), a callous salesman bent on payback for perceived

wrongs; George Aronow (David Wells), an insecure old-timer who still

sports a bow tie; Richard Roma (Sal Viscuso), a ruthless and arrogant

shark of a man whose hapless prey, James Lingk (Kevin Brief) doesn’t

stand a chance; and Det. Baylen (Nicholas Aguayo, stepping in for Berg),

assigned to investigate the robbery.

There were some problems in Act I, set in a Chinese restaurant, with

actors anticipating lines and jumping the gun a bit, but things had

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settled down by Act II, when the fireworks really begin. While this is a

confident and highly capable cast all around, Gerber and Viscuso are

particular standouts as the heartbroken and the heartless, each of them

salesmen with their own unique styles and committed to win, no matter the

cost.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: “Glengarry Glen Ross” by David Mamet

WHERE: The Third Stage, 2811 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank

WHEN: Continuing through Dec. 19

TICKETS: $15; $12 students and seniors

PHONE: 842-4755


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