Review of Oleanna: Perfectly produced
Stephanie Smith writes of the Next Stage series production of Oleanna by David Mamet:
As the first of three scenes opened up, one becomes immediately aware of the professionalism and experience of Mark Gorman, current artistic director of SOBT and acting as John the Professor. His ability to remove himself from his surroundings and completely delve into the character offered us further insight into the Professor’s obliviousness to what was forthcoming. Julie Hammond, acting as Carol – a frail student in both ego and mind, opens up with a tentative yet nerve wracking position of having to ask her seasoned instructor for assistance in understanding his class in order to improve her grade. As his focus is on the phone and less on her
needs, he exudes a particular vulnerability teetering on the edge of his own Pass/Fail situation at home and with his career.
As with most of David Mamet’s work, the transcript of the play falls into a lyrical prose that edges along the vivacity of nuance. You’re immediately drawn into the scenes completely unaware of the darkness that is about to smack you in the face upon the next turn.Not completely understanding what you’ve just seen, the play introduces you to a horror that could potentially happen to any of us. You sit watching, disbelieving what is happening right before your eyes, and hope that this train wreck is about to stop. As the play progresses, Carol develops into a manipulative (or easily manipulated) character that involves herself into a power struggle with the Professor. John falls prey to his own devices, either accidentally or idiotically, and we are left in wonder as to whom the real predator in the play is.