I suppose ever since I started taking my class and reading as many plays and acting books that I could get my hands on, that I regard myself knowledgeable in all things acting! Im really not, but I do think I am becoming a acting/artist snob. I say all this because I know how difficult it is to craft any role and I hate to say that I was a fairly disappointed in an actress who has quite more established career than I! Perhaps I just thought that I could do a better job… but we all think that when we are in the crowd… What do I know about performing the same play over and over agin for weeks? Why I have never done a run longer than a few days! But with all that said, I am a fan of David Mamet, but I am not a fan of this particular production of Oleanna and I would not recommend it.
I suppose it had something to do with the way that Julia Stiles seemed to be just walking through the script/lines. Its true that it might be difficult to play Carol in the first place, because one must make us believe as to why she would say and do the thing that she does, with little support or reason given. Any one who plays Carol may have to either make you think she is really crazy or play her in way that will makes the audience feel so much sympathy that you dont even think about what she is doing to her poor professor.
I was curious about what the critics had to say about the play, and I couldnt agree with Ben Brantley more when he said, “With Mr. Mamet, the words really do come first. As this production demonstrates, interpreters who try to sidestep this cardinal rule do so at their peril.” I rarely keep up with critics but I couldn’t help to become agitataed by the fact that Ms. Stiles seemed to not be aware of Mamet’s style of dialouge, or that she didn’t care at all. To me, Mamet’s style of writing dialouge is a trait that make him stand out amongst other playwrites… any actor must keep that distiction in mind and… because its what makes his dialouge so real and true today’s language.
Either way, I must say that Bill Pullman did a fine job, and bo matter what I have to say about Ms.Stiles, a Mamet Play is always worth seeing!