A Cold Calling

Glengarry Glen Ross is a classic yet timely take on real estate.

“You want to know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes BRASS BALLS to sell real estate.” In this day and age, David Mamet’s words ring especially true, making Glengarry Glen Ross, his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a cutthroat competition among corrupt real-estate salesmen, still relevant despite being something of an ’80s period piece. A new production by the Denver Center Theatre Company is certain to shoot more sparks than a presidential debate when it opens tonight in a 6:30 p.m. performance.

“When Kent Thompson chose this play back in January, I don’t think he had any idea the bottom would fall out from under the mortgage industry, but it makes Mamet’s tough, unrelenting, dislikable characters seem even more so,” spokesman Chris Wiger says of the DCTC artistic director’s timely choice. “The setting is kept in the 1980s, exactly as Mamet wrote it. The director, Marco Barricelli, is a real fan. He’s very interested in the rhythm and cadence of Mamet’s language, and he hasn’t changed a word or a comma in this production.”

That said, Wiger warns, many of those words aren’t pretty (according to the Internet Movie Database, “the word ‘fuck’ and its derivatives are uttered 138 times” in James Foley’s 1992 film version, with its brilliant cast of stud stars led by Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon), so you might want to leave the kids and prigs at home. But the filthy, machine-gun dialogue and the setting — a time when a landline was still your lifeline in a brutal business reigned over by backstabbing and the cold call — continue to make this play go ’round.

Glengarry Glen Ross runs daily except Sundays through November 22 in the Ricketson Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex; for tickets, $34 to $51, visit www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.
Oct. 10-Nov. 22, 2008

 
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