by PFTC writer and Prague Pulse Magazine editor Seneca Garrison
CATNIP/Savec’s production, in association with The Language House, of David Mamet’s distinctly 80’s play ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ opened with lot more shoulder pads and big-ass hairdos than you usually see on a Tuesday night in Prague. The sets, acting, and costumes were on par with the high quality of their previous productions with more unrepeatably bad language, conniving, and cut throat competition than before.
This production of is a glimpse at a new age of globalization where English language projects have to be ‘womanized’ due to an over saturation of adventurous, creative women living abroad. Director, Nicole J. Adelman, turned a regularly all male play on its head by filling it with women who can pull off every line, complexity, and power hungry notion just as well as any male counterpart. They say there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women, but CATNIP is showing the creative scene that women don’t need to only put themselves in roles of heroes, saints, victims. Women can fill any role, even sleazy, lying, vile bitches and still be feminists.
Peppur Chamber’s ‘Moss’ was beautiful and played her blatant manipulation with quick-witted grace. Her hair and costumes where flawless and she did a great job playing with the volume of her character’s emotions. Her chemistry was at its peak with Stephanie Brush’s ‘Jay’, undoubtedly the only loveable character on stage. Brush played the sweet do-gooder with bumbly charm that never went overboard with the herself. Her performance was a real stand out. When the lights came up at the end of the show, the first comment I heard came from a woman in the row next to me who said, “I think I’m in love with the Jay character.”
But this wasn’t a play about sweet loveable women. So let’s talk about E. Dana Wunderlich’s Shelley ‘The Machine’ Levene. Wunderlich pulled off disheveled effortlessly and her desperation was palpable, to say the least. As an audience, you didn’t root for her as much as some portrayals of Shelley, but Wunderlich commanded the stage with an overblown sad sense of victimhood that elicited a little pity and some eye rolls from her fellow cast for being a great drama queen.
The eye rolling was chump change in the treasury of tortures these characters put each other through. The script and cast incorporated beautiful use of bad language and hurled curdling insults back and forth with ease. Adelman’s ‘Ricky Roma’ is the queen of nasty, cutting lines. She exudes a confident strength that can never be trusted. One or two of Adelmans’s spitfire rants were muddled every so slightly before they made it to the audience but on the whole, she is the queen bee who doesn’t quit. A terrifying piranha who can say anything with a straight face. Her constant victim, Stephanie Cohen’s Williamson, was the most muted character in the office. She wanted to be a business success but drowned in the drama around her. Her persistence to stay professional until the end made her takedown by Adelman all the more panic inducing.
Catch the play every Tuesday and Saturday evening from March 14th through April 1st at Studio Savec. Tickets available here.