Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Zemfira Stage Oleanna

By • Mar 13th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
Zemfira Stage
The Lyceum, Alexandria, VA
Playing through March 14th
Reviewed March 12, 2009

This review is also available as an audio version. [MP3 2:43 2.5MB]

Oleanna is a drama by David Mamet. A university professor and one of his female students clash over what should be said to others and how people should be treated. Emotions run high in this tense drama. Who is “innocent”? Who is “guilty”? Both? Neither? You decide.

This was an intense drama that will give you lots to discuss after seeing it. The two performers created a tension that held the audience’s attention throughout the show. The fast pace allowed the two actors to talk over each other. However this may have been done on purpose to heighten the ultimate fireworks which occurred between the two characters.

Carol, the confused and frustrated college student, was played by Christine Lange. Her character changed the most in this play. Lange’s Carol started out shy, rarely making eye contact with her professor until the second act. Her demeanor was withdrawn; almost like a whipped puppy dog. In the second act you could see an almost visible change. Lange was much more self aware and strong. The defiance and disdain in her eyes when confronting her professor was very apparent.

John, Carol’s college professor was played by Jay Tilley. Lange and Tilley complemented each other well. Whereas Lange became more confident and angry throughout the play, Tilley seemed to grow less confident and sure of himself. It was interesting to watch Tilley’s overbearing demeanor and used car salesman attitude in the first act change to depression and despair in the second act. The final scene his rage took over which was unsettling to watch, but powerfully performed.

The technical aspects of the show, the lighting and the sound, helped keep the mood tense. The set was the professor’s office and had the right amount of books and papers on a desk to make it all look fairly realistic. The Technical Director and Light Board Operator was Melissa Jo York-Tilley.

Oleanna ran an hour and a half with one intermission. It is closing this weekend. The final performances will be Friday at 8 pm and a Saturday matinee at 3 pm and an evening performance at 8 pm at the Lyceum in Alexandria, Virginia. This is a powerful drama that was well acted. This show involves mature themes and contains strong language. It is not recommended for anyone under 16.

Once you’ve seen Oleanna, please share your thoughts about it. We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater happenings in the DC region.

And now, on with the show.


Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John
Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John
Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John
Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John
Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John
Christine Lange as Carol and Jay Tilley as John


  • Carol: Christine Lange
  • John: Jay Tilley


  • Producer/Director: Zina T. Bleck
  • Original Music: Herb Tax
  • Technical Staff: Melissa Jo York-Tilley
  • Publicity: Jay Tilley
  • Flyer Artwork: Kaya Andoque-Walton
  • Publicity Photography: Dave Harback
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005. Laura has performed in local productions and worked back stage. She will be stage managing The Taming of the Shrew, to be performed by Castaways Repertory Theatre in January 2012. She earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Laura is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

One Response »

  1. Thank you for not only your kind words but for squeezing us into your review schedule at the last minute since last Saturday night’s performance was unfortunately cancelled!