- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Methuen Drama (24 Jun. 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0413626202
- ISBN-13: 978-0413626202
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Oleanna (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) Paperback – 24 Jun 1993
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"An ear for reproducing everyday language has long been David Mamet's hallmark and he has now employed it to skewer the dogmatic, puritannical streak which has become commonplace on and off the campus. With Oleanna he continues an exploration of male-female conflicts begun with Sexual Perversity in Chicago in 1974. Oleanna cogently demonstrates that when free thought and dialogue are imperilled, nobody wins." The Independent, Michael Wise "John and Carol go to it with hand-to hand combat that amounts to a primal struggle for power. As usual with Mamet, the vehicle for that combat is crackling, highly distilled dialogue unencumbered by literary frills or phony theatrical ones." International Herald Tribune, Frank Rich 'Can anverbal assault be construed as rape? Of given Mamet's dazzling play on the ambiguity of language, does it constitute any situation where no is taken to mean yes?' Guardian - Alfred Hickling, 20.11.10
About the Author
David Mamet is one of the most distinctive voices on the contemporary American stage. He was born and had his first and many subsequent plays premiere in Chicago. His screenplays include: The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables, We're No Angels and Glengarry Glen Ross; he was writer and director for House of Games, Things Change and Homicide.
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Top Customer Reviews
One could be simplistic and say that this is Mamet just having a bash at feminists, but the play is about more than that. It raises some interesting questions about higher education. Should everybody go to college/university, even if they're clearly not suited to academic study? The title of the play refers to an idealised American colony which seemed perfect but dense forestation meant that it was impossible for the community to live there. Both John and Carol see university as being a perfect aspiration: Carol sees university as being the key to life and her chance of escape from the life she has at home.
John sees it as an opportunity to preach and covets the bourgeouis lifestyle of a lecturer with tenure.Both John and Carol are unsuited for university life and yet both will cling on to it.
In the premiere of the play, audiences cheered at the violent finale and shouted at Carol. However, though Carol may be the more obvious villain, there's a part of me that wonders whether John didn't deserve his fall from grace. For a start, the stage direction doesn't say whether the pat is intended as sexual or not; only that it's a pat on the shoulder.Read more ›
In "Oleanna" the central theme is familiar - that with great power, comes great responsibility. A two hander, this play is tight. There is nothing superfluous. John, a college professor on the brink of career success, is confronted by student Carol who, as inarticulate as she is, finds a way of forcing him to face the facts that his generation has let down those whom he has - at least an implicit- responsibility to. Between their two viewpoints the drama, and conflict, derives.
This play is awe inspiring in that Mamet is able to pull off, with such economical means, a story which will leave you questioning generational interecation, the legitimacy of higher education, the nature of where one's responsibilities lie, and a whole host of questions around semantics.
Whether one watches this as a performed stage play, or reads it, there is a small intake of breath each time Mamet manages to turn the screw- and while you may well pride yourself on knowing where the course of such drama leads, this will leave you breathless. Even after the climax of the action, you will be questioning both protganists points of view, and find both of them both innocent, and guilty...
A deeply provocative piece which will have you questioning your own assumptions and values again and again - surely there are few dramatists alive today that force one to confront the uncomfortable trtuhs which our PC vocabulary runs shy of?
It is a play precisely about language, about how it can be mis-applied and manipulated, twisted and misunderstood. The two characters, John and Carol, enter a battle of words, one that proves that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
It's simple structure and staging allows the language to take centre-stage, and it is this that keeps us gripped throughout. I recently saw the revival in the West-End starring Aaron Eckhart and Julia Stiles, and it was superb.
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys intellectual drama that offers the audience a lot to think about.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didn't like the play; it was on my reading list and I found it kind of stupid. But the actual book arrived in great condition.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great quality! This book was insightful into the strategies of extreme feminism during its second wavePublished 12 months ago by Sejal Patel
Don't like the play, but as I need to study/teach it, Amazon produced the goods.Published 18 months ago by C A Lamont