Courtesy of Jennifer Univa / Contributing Photographer

The Opposite of People, UR’s only student drama troupe, put on four performances of David Mamet’s Pulitzer-winning “Glengarry Glen Ross,” which details a group of cut-throat real estate salesmen.

The first conversation presented realtor Richard Roma, played by sophomore Angel Morales, musing on masculine power and pleasure. The insecure James Lingk, played by junior Shane Saxton, listened on, offering scant reply save for a timid sip of his martini. Morales effectively played the role of the dark, sly real estate agent, forcing Lingk into buying property by emasculating him. Costumers Zoe Netter and Kathryn Loveless, both juniors, accented Morales’ dark air with a black suit and helped Saxton blend into the only visible wood panelling in the set with a tan-colored suit.

In the corner opposite Morales and Saxton sat agent Shelley Levene, freshman Mario Gambino, begging manager John Williamson, played by freshman Maverick Cummings, to give him the month’s strongest clients. Gambino expertly came across as a schmuck who’s attempts at silver-tongued excuses for his poor sales simply made him more unpleasant.

In the third conversation, a slightly drunk Dave Moss, played by senior Brian Giacalone, expressed his frustration with the agency to his wimpy, middle-aged coworker George Aaronow, played by sophomore Steven Winkelman. Moss slowly brought up an interesting plan that could put them at the top of the contest, subtly manipulating Aaronow into participating.

The second act saw the realtors going in and out of the office and being questioned by a Detective Baylen, played by senior Michael Mayor, about the previous night’s break-in and robbery. Mayor did well, exuding presence without overpowering the other actors. Early into the scene, Moss exploded after being questioned by the detective — Giacalone practically rocked the building’s foundations. It was a pity he stormed off and never returned with his raw, masculine energy.

When Cummings got angry later on, he had a hard time matching Giacalone’s force, and his aloof attitude throughout most of the scene felt a little monotone. Morales, on the other hand, was able to give Roma a beautifully duplicitous demeanor when Lingk came to him saying that his wife was calling off the deal. Saxton was more than convincing when he awkwardly apologized for reneging on the deal, underscoring his character’s feeble nature. Afterwards, an angry Roma ranted at Williamson, who had accidentally administered the coup de grâce on the deal, in another intense outburst reminiscent of Moss’ exit.

Gambino’s performance was exemplary throughout the extended scene. Levene first entered with a smug attitude after selling two properties that morning, but by the end of the act he’d done an about-face, grovelling to Williamson, to whom he had inadvertently spilled some dark secrets. Going from one emotional extreme to another in such a compelling manner almost elicited audience pity for him. The show closed with Aaronow returning from a lengthy lunch break and weakly asking for any news about the robbery.

Kudos to director Devin Goodman, a junior, for pulling powerful, multifaceted performances from every actor, especially in the first act where movement was restricted to a minimum. The play was an interesting commentary on masculinity, each character representing it in a different way.

Libbey is a member of the class of 2016.

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