Sex, love and money are the focus of shows performed by Generic Theater Company and the 14th Grade Players this weekend. While Generic will focus on the annals of the real estate business with “Glengarry Glen Ross,” 14th Grade Players will present a period comedy, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman.”
“Glengarry Glen Ross,” written by David Mamet, legendary playwright known for his contribution to the screenplay for the 1997 film “Wag the Dog,” focuses on a group of businessmen in the ’80s selling real estate.
“The play is very relevant to the economic times that we’re in today,” said director Joe Parsons, a junior and international affairs major. He added, “The outrage of populism and the AIG bonuses – why in a capitalist society are we always encouraged to throw other people under a bus for our own personal gain?”
In an effort to expose what he perceived as a “sexist element” of the show, Parsons decided to reinterpret the intended casting. Though the script calls for a cast of seven males, Parsons chose to cast three of these characters as female.
“I did this not just for proposition of equal opportunity in the casting office but I deliberately chose these three. They’re the three most aggressive and authoritative characters in the scene,” said Parsons. “Making them women deliberately showed the contrast of women entering the workplace and how the old guard of men would deal with the up-and-coming women, how they would deal [with] being told what to do by a woman.”
“David Mamet would shit a brick if he knew I was doing this,” Parsons added.
Sophomore Lorna Mulvaney, who worked as the stage manager, characterizes the play as a comedy.
“The show isn’t slapstick, but the audience will definitely be laughing at how ridiculous everything is,” she said.
“Man and Superman,” written on 1903 by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, centers on a man and woman in love, following the couple as the woman attempts – and succeeds – in manipulating the man into proposing.
“The play is extremely witty. It’s just brilliantly written,” said sophomore Nancy Barry, the director.
Barry said the romance of the show drove her to choose this play specifically, which marks her directorial debut.
“What attracted me to it is that it’s shockingly sexual for a period piece, and I was surprised by how modern it seemed. Even being produced now, people are going to be shocked at how sexual it is,” she said.
Barry said this play seemed particularly relevant to today, echoing Parsons’ understanding of “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
“The play could even represent relationships at GWU,” she said.
Like Barry, Parsons is also a first-time director, although he insists this will be his last time directing.
“I feel like directing is the peak of student theater. If you get the privilege and the opportunity to direct a show among your peers, then I think you choose your best show and you go with it.” He added, “I don’t really think there’s anywhere to go but down from directing.”
“Glengarry Glen Ross” will be performed by Generic Theater Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m., and Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the Lisner downstage. Fourteenth Grade’s “Man and Superman” will be performed Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the Mitchell Hall Theater.