This is just a play. Three scenes of meticulously crafted dialogue are enacted by two carefully directed, possibly gifted, actors. It is written by David Mamet, but even Mamet is not God. And yet, I awoke the day after seeing it feeling like a brick had been thrown through my plate glass window. The view is clearer now, but filled with menace. Hillary Hittner and John H. Rice play a young college student and her professor, two well-meaning intellectuals who nonetheless inflict serious damage on one another. Or do they bring the pain on themselves? Oleanna
is not a mystery, but I'll hold back on plot, because the after-show discussion revealed varying opinions about whether the characters were as innocent as they seemed and whether their role reversals were genuine or contrived. I can't be sure what Mamet was saying with his tense, continually cut-off dialogue (or how director Rod Isaac interpreted it), but here's what I heard: Communication fails, over and over again. People are sexist, classist, racist and condescending with no intention of being so. Victims can wrap themselves in so many labels of outrage that they become as brutally powerful as their attackers. No one is innocent, but Mamet's characters are genuine, even as they hide their motivations from themselves. Even the contrived actions are totally true. It's as clear as day and dark as night. Through March 28; 317-850-4665.