Without giving away too many spoilery details, I can say that the actors beautifully illustrated a sliding scale power shift. Sara Grant’s Carol went from mousy to domineering and Todd Bruno took John from self-assured to broken-spirited, but the transition is subtle and the illusion is aided by their hairstyles and clothing choices. But just when it appears that the character’s personality was summed up, a new facet was revealed and the situation became more complex and clouded and opened up a labyrinth of questions.
We discussed the possibilities on the way home and then some for 3 hours after the show, and the next morning it was still on our minds.
This is a three-act, one-setting, two-actor play, so much importance is placed on the nuances of the characters. Subtlety is everything. Grant spoke volumes with one exaggerated eyeroll or the way she perched on a chair or glided across the room.
Bruno similarly purveyed so much with subtext: his mouth was delivering a set of lines that told us about his character while his body delivered a separate set with every telephone call that John took. In fact, it wasn’t until halfway through the third act that it occurred to me that Bruno wasn’t actually on a telephone call with another party – his acting, however, brought that disembodied other party into the show as well, and the other side of the telephone conversations were fully credible.
The chemistry between the two was such that they were able to smooth out the staccato lines that Mamet scripted.
This play is extremely relevant in today’s world. We are confronted daily with so many cases of abuse of power – the news is resplendent with the idea of privilege: what it is, what it does, what it means for those who have or don’t have it. Oleanna doesn’t answer any of these questions, but rather poses them and forces the audience members to begin to try to answer those questions by themselves – and for themselves.
Oleanna runs at Sol Theatre from September 21, 2017 – October 8, 2017.
Tickets are $30 / $20 for students and seniors.
Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8pm
Sunday @ 2pm
through October 8
All performances are at Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33431