“Always Be Closing” is the famous mantra that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play that was successfully adapted to the screen for the 1992 cult hit featuring an all-star cast. Yet closing is something theatregoers will wish wouldn’t happen anytime soon for the run of OKC Theatre Company’s production of Glengarry Glen Ross.
The story chronicles the daily grind of four Chicago real estate salesmen, Shelly Levine (Robert Emmett McGill), Roma (Ben Hall), Moss (Jason Burkhart) and Aaronow (Darryl Cox) and their supervisor, Williamson (Craig Pruitt). Life is tense for everyone in the struggling sales office – except for can’t-miss golden boy Roma – as they struggle to meet sales quotas under seemingly impossible circumstances, including horrible sales leads and the constant threat of termination. Things suddenly get turned upside down as someone plots to obtain a set of newly acquired and highly coveted leads from Williamson’s office in an unscrupulous manner, leaving each salesman to face his own unique dilemma.
OKCTC’s Glengarry cast seems assembled in heaven. The chemistry is unmistakable as interactions between the players transition fluidly with rarely a hitch. There are plenty of interruptions, but that’s just Mamet’s style, adapted brilliantly by director Rob Gallavan. Though the opening scene seemingly taxis on the runway just a tad too long for comfort before taking off into the rest of the story, the rapid-fire dialogue does not disappoint in the least from start to finish. Mamet would be proud. McGill strikes a wonderful balance between despair and arrogance as Levine, the washed up salesman way past his prime, hell bent on returning to his former glory as a closer, even if only in his own mind. Pruitt does a tremendous job in the role of Williamson, credibly portraying the abrasive, insensitive asshole of a boss who doesn’t care for Levine and is only focused on the bottom line.
Burkhart is a gem as the shady, narcissistic Moss, whom he portrays with quick wit and perfect political incorrectness. One only wishes there was more of him in this production, and that’s not a bad thing. Darryl Cox is superb as Aaronow, the bumbling, underachieving salesman whose still-intact conscience is conflicted and ill-suited for the deceit that comes with the territory in the anything-goes selling game.
Ben Hall steals the show with his portrayal of Roma. He is the textbook snake oil salesman, equal parts storyteller, psychologist, evangelist and politician. His charm is credibly disarming as he practices the art of deception with masterful emphasis on the art aspect. His parrying, manipulating dialogue with milquetoast client James Lingk (Richard Nelson, whose brilliant timidity provides the perfect contrast to Hall’s confident Roma) is the stuff of genius. Rounding out the cast is Mark Loftis, who delivers a very solid performance as the gruff, no-nonsense Detective Baylen.
In all, this is a show well worth seeing. Glengarry Glen Ross continues through August 24th in the CitySpace Theatre of the Civic Center Music Hall, located at 201 N. Walker Avenue in OKC. Show times are 8pm Thursday through Saturday and 2pm Sunday. For ticket information, visit OKCTC.org or call 405-297-2264.