herald

Sunday 18 November 2018

A woman's mamet

How do you do an all-female version of a famous play about competitive maleness?

David mamet's 1982 play Glengarry Glen Ross has lost none of its power down the years -- a testament to the playwright's often brutal vision. After all, people don't really change that much as a species, do they? However, there's a big change afoot with this version of the tale: rather than being the usual testosterone fest, this is a version adapted for females. Idir Mná's Yvonne Ussher fills us in on the ins and outs of Mamet for women.

Tell us About Glengarry Glen Ross... It's a scalding comedy about four small-time, cut-throat real-estate salespeople trying to grind out a living by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers in a never-ending scramble for their fair share of the American dream -- where closing a sale can mean a brand-new car but losing one can mean losing it all.

WHERE DID THE ADAPTATION COME FROM? There is a female version, but it was the original play that I connected with. Our 'adaptation' required changing the 'he's to 'she's and changing some of the characters' first names, so Dave Moss is now Dee Moss. However, we still have a Rikki Roma and Shelly Levine. A lot of people are wondering how the ladies are going to handle all of the strong language -- let me tell you, they are handling it just fine!

PEOPLe ARE ALWAYS GIVING OUT ABOUT THE LACK OF ROLES FOR WOMEN ... My opinion would be that if there isn't a decent part, go find it or go create it. We've had a very organic approach in rehearsals with all of us finding the traits of our characters tying in to something very feminine. Now 'feminine' could be the bitch or whore or mother, but the one thing that keeps coming across is, for such a male play, it really lends itself to a woman's sensuality.

WHAT'S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE? That the film is so well known. It's hard for someone to walk in and not do an impression of Jack Lemmon or Al Pacino. However, once this is addressed, it's easy to get over the hurdle... for an actor. It'll be very interesting to see the reaction of people coming along who adore the film. Hopefully they'll keep an open mind. - SC

Idir Mná presents Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, directed by Simon Hubbard, at the New Theatre from Monday to November 28th, 8pm, €15/€10 concessions www.newtheatre.com

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