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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Glengarry Glen Ross" by David Mamet

This is a very modern play about real estate salesmen.

The first act is made up of three scenes, each a two hander in the same restaurant.

In the first scene Levene, a salesman, is begging Williamson for leads. There is a sales contest, the top salesman will be given a Cadillac, the next a set of steak knives and the bottom two will be sacked. Williamson distributes the leads and the quality of the lead makes all the difference between sale and no-sale. Levene, presently well in the relegation zone, offers to bribe Williamson for better leads and Williamson seems to accept but holds out for more money than Levene can lay his hands on.

In the second scene Moss, who is in the safety zone, is trying to persuade Aaronow to burgle the office and steal the leads. They can sell the leads to a rival salesman who has set up on his own. Moss has his alibi all prepared and Aaronow quite rightly asks why he should be the one to do the burglary. Moss tells him that he is already an accessory before the fact and he is therefore guilty just by listening.

In the third scene Roma, the top salesman, is entertaining Lingk, a client. They make small talk and the scene ends just as Roma prepares to sell.

Act Two is set the next morning in the office, which has been burgled. Detective Baylen is interviewing the salesmen one by one. Roma is demanding his Cadillac straight away because he has sold to Lingk and is now uncatchable in the contest. Aaronow is confessing that he is unable to sell anymore, that he is washed up. Then Levene shows up saying that he sold eight units; he describes how he closed the deal simply by waiting in silence with the pen poised until the clients took the pen and signed. Then Lingk shows up asking for his money back; his wife has told him he has three days to back out of the deal. But this will put Roma behind Levene in the contest so Roma starts to lie to Lingk. Finally the burglar is unmasked.

This is a very short little play but quite powerful. The first Act is all about selling: Levene selling the idea to Williamson that he is worth better leads, Moss selling the burglary to Aaronow, Roman selling real estate to Lingk. The language is robust, male, bull talk. What comes over is the incredible pressure these men are under and how they react to that pressure: bribery, burglary, and lies. This is reinforced in the second act as we see Roma one moment bragging about his triumph and in the next trying to lie his way out of losing the Lingk scale; Aaronow confessing his failure and Levene excited about his triumph.

These are men caught in the iron grip of naked capitalism, fighting for survival. Morality has been left far behind.

A raw, brutal play with forthright language. It seemed a bit like watching gladiators fighting to the death with no holds barred.

April 2016; 64 pages

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