Synapse Theatre Company Glengarry Glen RossBy Michael Clark • Sep 22nd, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Synapse Theatre Company
Writer’s Center, Bethesda, MD
Through September 26
2:15; one intermission
$20/$15 Seniors and students
Reviewed September 17, 2010
Glengarry Glen Ross is the story of several desperate real estate agents who are trying to keep their jobs through a sales contest. They scheme and plot against each other, their boss and their clients as they sell their properties.
Glengarry Glen Ross contains a lot of adult language, and adult situations. Actors must love juicy roles such as these slimy, greedy, back-stabbing salesmen. Unfortunately, many of the performances were flat. There wasn’t much depth to anyone. The manager of the office, John Williamson (Jeff Mocho) was given the job to herd and manhandle the agents yet came across as weak and was pushed around too easily by the agents, especially by Ricky Roma (Joe Kelly). Police detective Baylen (Ivan Zizek) was also very wishy-washy, the antithesis of a street hardened Chicago police detective. I would have liked to see the detective try to stare the agents down.
James Raby as agent Shelly Leven and Joe Kelly as Ricky Roma showed a wide range of emotions. Kelly shifted easily from aggressive, slimy salesman to “concerned” friend while manipulating both his clients (Wayne Nicolosi was effective as pathetic client James Lingk) and his coworkers. Raby was effective late in the show as we learned more about his actions. Ted Schneider as Dave Moss was pushy, but apparently a good guy as he showed his concern for George Aarnow (Larry Levinson). But his twisting of his relationship with George actually made George more sympathetic, which Levinson handled with confidence.
Overall, Director Lou Zammichieli’s pacing of the show could have been quicker. The emotions that the agents were running through called for high energy, and at times the pauses between the delivery of lines was distracting. Zammichieli’s set was basic, with only two desks and a chalkboard the main set pieces. The preshow music was annoyingly loud, enough so that it was relief when the show finally started. Unfortunately, the actors came across as hard to hear until my ears could adjust to the more reasonable volume of sound in the room. The lights for most of Act I, the Chinese restaurant, were a dim red, which made it hard to see the actors talking at their table.
I spoke with producer Kathe Park after the performance. She did share that they did have trouble bringing everything together during their final days of rehearsal. This is Synapse’s second production. It will be interesting to watch them as they continue to learn and grow. Their next production will be The Miracle Worker, and they are planning to collaborate with an English playwright next season on new works.
- Shelly Levene: James Raby
- Ricky Roma: Joe Kelly
- Dave Moss: Ted Schneider
- George Aaronow: Larry Levinson
- John Williamson: Jeff Mocho
- James Lingk: Wayne Nicolosi
- Rick Baylen: Ivan Zizek
- Frank Blake: Lou Zammichieli
- Director: Lou Zammichieli
- Assistant Director: Peter Chewning
- Producer: Kathe Park
- Lighting Design: Jim Robertson
- Stage Manager: Michelle Brooks
- Sound Design: Lou Zammichieli
- Set Design: Lou Zammichieli
- Light Board Operator: Michelle Brooks
- Costumes: Kathe Park
- Publicity: Duane Hyland, Kathe Park
- Program: Barbara Wassell
- Website: Scott Bloom
- Artwork: Wayne Nicolosi
Disclaimer: Synapse Theatre Company provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review, and is running paid advertising on ShowBizRadio.net.
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