#CBR7 Review #38: Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet

I’ve been reading a lot of twentieth-century drama. But none has come quite so close to my current dissertation topic as Glengarry Glen Ross. Back when I was first doing my research, my dissertation director referenced it a few times, which meant that it needed to go on my list. It’s definitely an intriguing idea, and I liked the overlapping nature of the dialogue, though I bet so much of the play’s richness occurs in the delivery of the lines and the interactions of the characters.

In short, the play covers the need for money and material as seen in a real estate agency in the early 1980s. Here, closing a sale can mean winning a new Cadillac, but losing a sale could mean losing everything you’ve been dreaming for. Here, the players in this game scheme to steal leads to sell, or they aim to sell leads for a commission. It’s an intricate game of chess, and all the characters are equally despicable and pitiable in their greed and despair.

This play reminds me in some ways of Seize the Day by Saul Bellow (the myth of the American Dream, for one) and Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed (betrayal, greed, strategy, lots and lots of profanity). I think this would be a great play to teach in conjunction with the American Dream, capitalism, neoliberalism, or the 1980s. I mean, clearly it dovetails with my research, so I wasn’t bound to dislike it. I’m also seriously excited about the movie–the play is a TOTAL sausage fest, and there is nothing better than a lot of egotistical men chewing the scenery. I mean, my feminist self finds it amusing…

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