The work requires exquisite timing, which comes and goes in director Mitchell Hebert’s respectable production, for which James Kronzer has devised a superlative set: The lacquered Chinese restaurant in which we meet the salesmen revolves suavely into the shabbier confines of the office where they vie to be king of the vipers’ nest.
I saw the Round House production on the designated evening for critics, a night on which many friends of the cast and supporters of the theater also attended. Sometimes, the extra dose of audience enthusiasm is a help, and sometimes it can affect the rhythm of a play less helpfully. With Mamet, the liquid dissembling, the staccato patter, the virtuosic trash talk demand a careful listen and a cast in gleeful sync.
The actors’ energy levels on this press night felt all over the place, perhaps because of nerves or the knowledge that they were playing to friends. In any event, I’d like to go back, because so many fine actors are sharing the stage: Rick Foucheux, Alexander Strain, KenYatta Rogers and Jeff Allin, among others. They seem in striking distance of not only getting “Glengarry’s” laughs, which does occur, but also of nailing the excruciating desperation at the core of the play — which doesn’t.
Allin, in particular, is nailing it already. His embittered Moss, while not the showiest role, bristles with the special contempt for the world that develops in a person who lives with rejection and works on commission. It’s always lovely, encountering actors you’ve seen before showing you facets of their talent that you haven’t. And seeing it happen in “Glengarry” makes that experience all the more inspiring.
by David Mamet. Directed by John Vreeke. Set, Misha Kachman; lighting, Andrew Griffin; costumes, Erin Nugent; sound, Chris Baine; projections, Jared Mezzocchi; dramaturg, Jamila Reddy. About 80 minutes. Through March 17 at D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Visit theaterj.org or call 800-494-TIXS (8497).
Glengarry Glen Ross
by David Mamet. Directed by Mitchell Hebert. Set, James Kronzer; costumes, Ivania Stack; lighting, Daniel MacLean Wagner; sound and music, Matthew M. Nielson. With Conrad Feininger, Stephen Patrick Martin, Jesse Terrill. About 75 minutes. Through March 3 at Round House Theatre, 4545 East-West Hwy., Bethesda. Visit roundhousetheatre.org or call 240-644-1100.