Theater Department Challenges Gender Boundaries With David Mamet Play

PICKING-UP-MACHINE

Vontre Stubblefield, Nate Castro and Ray Hicks (clockwise) deliver each word with a punch as they rehearse for the opening of Glengarry Glen Ross on March 25 in Phillips Hall Theatre. / Jose Servin / el Don

By Annie Lam

Director Chris Cannon spent about eight weeks reconstructing David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, by switching roles to speak against gender inequality.

Originally played by all males in the movie, the play will be acted out by an all male cast, an all female cast, or a mixed cast depending on the night of the performance.

“When we see women step up in our male-driven society with the same qualifications, do we automatically judge differently?” Cannon said.

Santa Ana College’s Theatre Arts department continues to push boundaries by putting on a profanity-lead, performance of Mamet’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play.

The story is about middle-aged salesmen who are competing to make the most sales to win a new car while the rest are getting fired.

“David Mamet writes in a unique style that every ellipse, every question mark, and every parenthesis has a meaning,” Cannon said. “The actors really need to pay attention to that.”

Jacqueline Aguilar and Andrew Perez play uptight real estate salesman John Williamson on different performance nights, and found the language of the script challenging.

“The challenge is mostly the language of Mamet,” said Aguilar, adding that it is important not to do too many actions.

Perez hopes the audience learns that when used in the right way, language is more powerful than action.

“It is a shocking play, and there is a message to this chaos,” Perez said.

“There is a movement to this language from each character and I would like the audience to embrace that.”

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Aguilar said that the audience might feel uncomfortable with some of the dialogue because of intense scenes that flirt with the limits of obscenity.

Cannon twists the play by switching gender roles to create a different vibe when they are played by women.

The original play’s movie adaptation featured iconic leading men Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Ed Harris, and Alan Arkin.

“I think it is great that we are doing that because for a long time people would associate this play with men,” Perez said. “Now as we progress, women are taking higher positions, and are a part of the working class. Women can be a part of this dialogue we are having and are not excluded from it.”

Cannon said he wants the audience to be entertained and to broaden their minds, especially during this election year with a prominent female presidential candidate.

“Additional surprises are planned on March 25 and 27,” Cannon said.

Glengarry Glen Ross will debut at Phillips Hall Theatre on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. tickets are priced at $15 and $10 with student I.D. Further dates and prices can be found at www.sac.edu/theatre/Events.

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