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Oleanna David Mamet The following entry presents criticism of Mamet's play Oleanna (1992).
One of the most controversial plays of the 1990s, Oleanna provoked fierce debates about sexual harassment and gender politics.
Judging by the conversations I overheard as I left the Orpheum Theater, the play is going to stir up a dollop of controversy. These art genres resort to provocation, he believes, because they have abandoned the principles of “story.” “It is our nature to want to make sense of …
[In the following appraisal, Mufson surveys critical response to Mamet's Oleanna.] In his October 12, 1992, New Republic column, Robert Brustein wrote, “Controversy makes stars of artists for all the wrong reasons, distracting our attention from debates that should be more aesthetic than political.” This comment, typical of Brustein's oft-stated contempt for “activist plays,” becomes more complicated given his role as coproducer of David Mamet's Oleanna, which, from its premiere at the American Repertory Theatre last May to its run in New York this past... Does it need any other qualification to be a favorite choice for nonprofit regional seasons? [In the following essay, Piette maintains that in Oleanna Mamet explores how “political correctness” can deprive language of its power to communicate and inform.] SOURCE: Goggans, Thomas H. “Oleanna, or, The Play of Pedagogy.” In Gender and Genre: Essays on David Mamet, edited by Christopher C.
Second, it has raked in profits from commercial productions in New York, on tour, and in London. [In the following essay, Katz claims that Mamet's depiction of sexual harassment, the search for truth, and gender relations in Oleanna does not effectively translate into real-life situations and actually reinforces stereotypes of female aggression.] David Mamet's play Oleanna hit the stage in the aftermath of the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas in 1992-93. John is about to be granted tenure and, on the strength of... “Postmodernism and Violence in Mamet's Oleanna.” Modern Drama 43, no. [In the following essay, Porter examines how the gender, education, class, and viewpoint differences between John and Carol inexorably lead to their failure to reach true communication and eventually result in violence.] SOURCE: Skloot, Robert. “A Few Good Men: Collusion and Violence in Oleanna.” In Gender and Genre: Essays on David Mamet, edited by Christopher C.
[In the following review, Solomon questions the moral perspective of Oleanna and the negative view it takes regarding women and sexual abuse.] First of all, it's cheap: two actors, one simple set, no technical effects. “David Mamet: The Search for Masculine Space.” In Staging Masculinity: Male Identity in Contemporary American Drama, pp. Badenhausen appraises John's inability and unwillingness to effectively educate and listen to Carol, and draws parallels between this situation and real events that happen in academic circles.] In discussing the 1992 debut of David Mamet's Oleanna, audiences and critics tended to highlight two features of the play: its indictment of political... “Three Models of Power in David Mamet's Oleanna.” In Exploring the Language of Drama: From Text to Context, Edited by Jonathan Culpepper, Mick Short, and Peter Verdonk, pp. It stages a confrontation between a male professor, John, and his female student, Carol. [In the following essay, Skloot assesses Oleanna as a play about the educational system's custom of pitting the power and inflexibility of the teacher against the insecurity and marginalization of the student and one possible outcome if these roles are reversed.] SOURCE: Bean, Kellie. in May 1992 and in New York where it opened the following October. Touted by many reviewers, and certainly by advertisers, as a brilliant exposé of sexual harassment, this 1992 play... “The Modern Academy Raging in the Dark: Misreading Mamet's Political Incorrectness in Oleanna.” College Literature 25, no. [In the following essay, Badenhausen explores the breakdown of language and understanding between teacher and student in Oleanna. [In the following essay, Weber explores the interaction of the “social context” and the “cognitive context” in Oleanna.] INTRODUCTION Oleanna is David Mamet's recent and highly controversial intervention in the political correctness debate. [In the following essay, Bean argues that, rather than depicting gender conflicts, Oleanna portrays a clash between John and the Tenure Committee, in which Carol “suffers the violence inspired by the power struggles between men.”] Although David Mamet's Oleanna (1992) concerns itself with the issue of sexual harassment, criticism of the play has experienced a kind of backlash against interpretations focusing on gender politics. [In the following essay, Nadel describes the differences in tone and action between Mamet's original 1992 production of Oleanna and Harold Pinter's London production the following year.] Bridget in Pinter's Moonlight David Mamet's Oleanna touched an American nerve when it premiered at the Hasty Pudding Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. [In the following excerpt, Mc Donough contends that Mamet's one-dimensional rendering of Carol in Oleanna reinforces male distrust and resentment of women in the workplace and academia.] The hysterical fear of women and the feminine that pervades the world of Mamet's plays makes hardly surprising his portrait of Carol in Oleanna. “The Playwright as Director: Pinter's Oleanna.” The Pinter Review: Annual Essays (2002): 121-28.After his parents divorced, he lived with his mother in Olympia Fields, a Chicago suburb.As a young man he was a busboy at Second City comedy club and worked at the Hull House Theatre. “Acts of Violence: David Mamet and the Language of Men.” Times Literary Supplement, no. [In the following excerpt, Showalter characterizes Oleanna as lopsided and misogynist and finds the female character a one-dimensional rendering of a woman.] By all counts, this should be a championship season for the playwright David Mamet. But these practical, even cynical calculations are not the reasons artistic directors give to explain why David Mamet's Oleanna, going... “‘We're Just Human’: Oleanna and Cultural Crisis.” South Atlantic Review 60, no. [In the following essay, Silverstein presents Oleanna as socially conservative, stressing that while Mamet strives for basic humanism, the play actually champions conformity and isolates otherness as deviant.] The perennial critical question of how to evaluate the misogynistic overtones of David Mamet's work has been raised with renewed urgency by the controversy surrounding the commercial (and largely critical) success of Oleanna. “The Devil's Advocate: David Mamet's Oleanna and Political Correctness.” In Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama, edited by Marc Maufort, pp. “Laying Blame: Gender and Subtext in David Mamet's Oleanna.” Modern Drama 40, no. [In the following essay, Goggans investigates small hints in Oleanna that can provide background information about Carol's past and thereby help explain her seemingly inconsistent and irrational behavior.] “The Bitch Set Him Up”—that's what Daniel Mufson thought the working title of Oleanna could have been, after he appraised the critical responses to the play's 1992 New York production, adding that “one can expect few other reactions when Carol is such a viper.” SOURCE: Tomc, Sandra. “Truth or Consequences: Mamet's Oleanna in the Real World.” In The Erotics of Institution, edited by Regina Barreca and Deborah Denenholz Morse, pp. The movie version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross, opened to rave reviews and a prediction of an Oscar for Jack Lemmon; there's great anticipation of another movie, Hoffa, for which he wrote the screenplay, and which is expected to garner... “Gender Wars: Oleanna & Desdemona.” Commonweal 119, no. [In the following excerpt, Weales commends the actors and Mamet's direction of Oleanna and briefly discusses the play's controversial issues.] The characters in David Mamet's Oleanna have names—John and Carol—but they might as well have been called professor and student or man and woman or accused and accuser, or simply victim 1 and victim 2. “David Mamet's Oleanna and the Way of the Flesh.” Essays in Theatre/Etudes Théâtrales 15, no. [In the following essay, Tomc explores the tension between the “conventionalism” of Mamet's views on performance art and the controversial nature of Oleanna.] In On Directing Film, David Mamet takes issue with countercultural theatre, performance art, and film for their cultivation of controversy. He condescendingly listens to her plight and interrupts her questions with personal anecdotes and by answering the continually ringing phone.Carol's language is stilted and uncomplicated, and she asks John why he uses large words when vernacular would suffice; he in response becomes more condescending.When Carol finally breaks down and begs him to help her understand, he sympathetically puts his arm around her shoulder to calm her and offers to tutor her.The second scene of the play shows a shifting of the balance of power between John and Carol.