A: David Mamet Pf: 1983, London Pb: 1984 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Chinese restaurant and real estate office, Chicago, 1980s C: 7mShelly Levene sells real estate for a Chicago firm specializing in the sale of Florida scrubland, which is dignified by names like ‘Glengarry’ and ‘Glen Ross’. Levene's sales have fallen off badly, especially when compared with those of a younger man Richard Roma, in line to win a Cadillac. Despite pleading with and trying to bribe his boss John Williamson, Levene now faces the sack. Another disgruntled salesman Dave Moss persuades his colleague George Aaronow into stealing the firm's list of contracts to sell to a competitor. When the burglary is discovered, Williamson calls in the police. He has to placate Roma, angry that the contracts proving his recent sales have gone missing, and is surprised when Levene comes to him, having pulled off a major deal. When Detective Baylen interviews the salesmen, it becomes clear that Moss and Aaronow had nothing to do with the burglary. But when Levene lets slip information that can only have come from one of the stolen documents, he immediately becomes the chief suspect. Indeed, his big deal, whose success has given him a new lease of life (‘I got my balls back’), was achieved only by using one of the stolen contracts.
A: David Mamet Pf: 1983, London Pb: 1984 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Chinese restaurant and real estate office, Chicago, 1980s C: 7m
Just as Pinter, to whom this play is dedicated, moved from lower-class vernacular to recreate middle-class idiom, so here Mamet turns from the no-hopers of American Buffalo to Chicago businessmen, whose ethic is summed up by Levene's ‘a man's his job’. As the critic Dennis Carroll said, this play, arguably Mamet's most powerful although now overshadowed by the film version (1992), ‘became the Death of a Salesman of the 1980s’.