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Oleanna (Acting Edition for Theater…

Oleanna (Acting Edition for Theater Productions) (urspr publ 1992; utgåvan 1998)

av David Mamet (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
693925,361 (3.63)21
Desperate to pass one of her classes, Carol approaches her professor, John, behind the closed doors of his university office. Words are exchanged. A touch. A glance. And what began as a simple meeting between teacher and student, suddenly spirals wildly out-of-control. But when Carol files harassment charges against him, the wheels are set in motion for a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse with shocking, devastating results.… (mer)
Titel:Oleanna (Acting Edition for Theater Productions)
Författare:David Mamet (Författare)
Info:Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (1998), Edition: unknown, 49 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Oleanna av David Mamet (1992)


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Reading this shortly after having read Speed-the-Plow was like finding some soup in the fridge that you remember was tasty, heating it up, and realizing too late that it's been in there way too long. Like that play just four years earlier, this pits a grandiose abrasive middle-aged man against a younger woman whose goals aren't immediately clear, with the power dynamic between them changing several times; also in both plays, the characters talk about a book containing rants about modern society that Mamet probably intends to be over the top. But virtually none of the things he did so effectively earlier work this time, and it's just a moldy, poisonous glop; where I envied actors who got to do some of his scenes in 1988, I feel sorry for anyone who had to try to give life to the stilted screeds in this.

There was a lot of talk in 1992, and again when he did the movie, about how Oleanna was supposedly a brilliantly ambiguous thing where either character might be in the wrong, that men would definitely see it one way and women the other way, and that it would start fights in the audience (which was supposedly cool). I'm glad those critics got something out of it, I guess, but I feel like a much more accurate description would be this: Mamet wrote two acts of a play where the man is a fairly realistic arrogant asshole who does some asshole things that he's fairly realistically oblivious of, and then some more extreme things that are also plausible but that he has no possible excuse for being oblivious of—and in this play, the woman is a fairly realistic confused college student who may not be a great student, but definitely doesn't need to hear about this guy's mid-life crisis or his philosophical pretensions and is perceptive enough to be creeped out by his increasing lack of boundaries. Then, Mamet wrote a third act of a different play where the man is an even worse asshole but he's totally justified because the woman is a PC totalitarian schemer straight out of a Rush Limbaugh fever dream, taking direction from a shadowy "Group" of similar creatures, and she's out to destroy him. Then he pasted them together.

Now, it's true that different viewers or readers could take this in different ways. Like, if you're a middle-aged dude who's paranoid about feminists and students and has heard horror stories about how bad they are and so you're predisposed to think the third act is realistic, then obviously the student is a horrible villain and the first two acts don't really matter even if the professor is kind of a dick—surely no one deserves to be destroyed like that even if they innocently got a bit upset (his wife's fault really, look how she stressed him out on the phone) and ended up physically restraining someone who was screaming "LET ME GO", I mean, that'd just be a slippery slope leading to innocent dudes being thrown in jail just for giving someone a nice compliment... etc. Whereas if you're a woman or pretty much anyone else with some experience of life and no massive axes to grind, you can see that the third act is just that first dude's paranoia in script form, and that the female character in that part is neither right nor wrong because she's not a person, she's a cartoon monster who has almost nothing in common with the character of the same name in the first part (or with anyone else in particular for that matter, since she changes from a meek nervous wreck with a basic vocabulary to some kind of Red Guard cadre who happens to rant in exactly the same elaborate style as the professor, and back again, depending on which key Mamet feels like pressing on his two-note piano)—and so you just ignore that part and judge the characters by the first part, in which the guy wasn't a cartoon monster but was still quite an asshole, of a type you've probably met in the actual world, who did exactly what she says he did. So this is only a clever test of the audience's unconscious bias in the same way that surprising someone with first a stuffed skunk, and then a Freddy Krueger mask, and seeing which one scares them more, would be a clever test of whether someone believes in Freddy Krueger as an imminent threat and has never seen a skunk in his life. There might be an unfortunate number of such people, but if the lesson you take from that is not "WTF, they are confused" but rather "I guess no one's entirely right or wrong", either you have failed or the teacher has.

(Speaking of teachers, the older character in this play supposedly is one. I defy you to figure out 1. what subject he could possibly be teaching, as an associate professor, to students who are in their junior year, where the required reading is his own book about why higher education is all bullshit and why they probably shouldn't even be here, 2. how he's managed to get by with no complaints till now, and 3. how he's about to get tenure even though he likes telling random people that the tenure committee are all fools.)

Whether Mamet is really on the professor's side, and thinks Act III Carol represents a real danger to civilization, is almost beside the point; even if he'd written this as a parody of what a self-pitying right-wing sexist might believe, that wouldn't make it work as a play. As I read it and started to get a bad feeling about where it might be going, I tried to just enjoy the use of language, and realized with dismay that I didn't; even early on when the characters are more recognizable, the dialogue is neither natural nor stylized in a way that indicates a good ear, it's just randomly emitted out of them as if the playwright is poking them in the back with a sharp stick. When they start three different sentences and can't finish, it doesn't seem to be because they're trying to tell the other person anything in particular, it just means the playwright needs them to sound inarticulate. When they start babbling and saying inappropriate things, it means the playwright needs to give the other person an excuse to be offended. The dialogue in Speed-the-Plow, even at its most exaggerated, had clear emotional through-lines and a sense of why things were moving from one state to another; here, despite a few good turns of phrase, it's more like Mamet had a note card saying "He has to get more upset by this point" or "She tries her same thing again." That kind of writing always makes me suspect the author is driven less by an interest in human behavior, and more by having a specific ending they're determined to get to, and/or a massive ax to grind. The one thing I'm pretty sure of is that Mamet did not set out to write an illustration of how men and women see things differently and no one's entirely right or wrong, that that was a rationalization after the fact by nervous producers or critics, because he is smart enough to have made it genuinely ambiguous if that's what he wanted rather than stacking the deck this way. ( )
  elibishop173 | Oct 11, 2021 |
See PHL388 reading journal #14 for my thoughts.

My sympathies were ricocheting back and forth, and I was left dizzy. ( )
  Kelmanel | Apr 17, 2020 |
3 Acts
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
One of the best plays I have read...the writer echos the views of two very different people brilliantly in the dialogue...would love to see it being performed... ( )
  Ymusmani | Jul 24, 2013 |
Elegant and complex. It stings, and the more I scratch the more it itches. ( )
  jorgearanda | Mar 17, 2009 |
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» Lägg till fler författare

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
David Mametprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Åberg, UllaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
D'Amico, MasolinoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Duša, ZdravkoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
酒井, 洋子Översättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Laville, PierreÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Neumann, JulekÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Neyzi, Ali H.Översättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Otten, MarcelÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Samland, BerndÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Villanova, RamonÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Desperate to pass one of her classes, Carol approaches her professor, John, behind the closed doors of his university office. Words are exchanged. A touch. A glance. And what began as a simple meeting between teacher and student, suddenly spirals wildly out-of-control. But when Carol files harassment charges against him, the wheels are set in motion for a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse with shocking, devastating results.

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Medelbetyg: (3.63)
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