Sunday, October 20, 2019

review - OLEANNA - Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre

Rachel Brumfield and Peter Cunniff
photo by Renee Ashlock
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 17

"David Mamet's Oleanna may have first premiered more than 25 years ago but it's just as powerful and relevant today in our #metoo world where accusations of sexual misconduct are an almost daily occurrence. The play brings up many topics of conversation but it's also a difficult one to watch at times and I have some quibbles with Mamet's somewhat convoluted plot and slightly undefined characters. Fortunately, with assured and skilled direction and two actors who find nuance and depth in the characters they portray, Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre's production will likely make you ponder and discuss the explosive situations Mamet has crafted and the motives and actions of his characters....shows both sides of perceived sexual harassment, but (Mamet) also explores other topics, such as how miscommunication can have destructive side effects and how sexual politics and political correctness can be viewed differently based on the individual's past experiences. However, Mamet's signature clipped style of speech, which he claims is how people actually speak, makes the piece a bit hard to get into at first, and comes across as very unrealistic to me....(doesn't) fully allow us to get a clear understanding of the events in the characters' pasts..There are also a few plot points that don't ring true....Virginia Olivieri's accomplished and precise direction derives realistic and nuanced performances from Peter Cunniff and Rachel Brumfield, who are excellent in portraying these flawed individuals. Olivieri instills the piece with expert pacing that ratchets up the tension as the play progresses. There are a couple of violent moments that are very directed with a forceful sense of realism, and Cuniff and Brumfield expertly depict the shifting dynamics in this disparate duo's relationship....The events in the play and the ideas that Mamet brings up will challenge you and may even force you to change your perspective on the issues it depicts. Oleanna is a provocative play and Desert Stages' production makes for an insightful and thought provoking study.   -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

No comments:

Post a Comment