Features ‘Glengarry’ offers lively entertainment By Wanda A. Adams May 29, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! COURTESY EDO NATASHAThe “Glengarry”?cast, top: AJ Song, left, Maleko McDonnell, Eli Foster and Alan Picard. Bottom: Jim Aina, left, Stu Hirayama, Troy Ignacio and Dann Seki. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Playwright David Mamet never uses a revolver when a machine gun will do. His words pierce you with an insistent, rhythmic splatter, each word spit out and drawled, shouted or spoken sotto voce in a mind-searing way. You wish you’d worn protective gear. Friday’s opening of Mamet’s Pulitzer- and Tony-winning "Glengarry Glen Ross" at The Actors’ Group in Iwilei didn’t quite come up to the playwright’s standard, but began with the desired laughter and ended in the intended silence. TAG’s Dole Cannery theater is a house so small there’s barely room for the four-desk set of the play’s fictional real estate office. And when it’s set up for a quartet of restaurant scenes? If you’re in the front row, keep your feet tucked or you’ll be trod on by the scenery changers. ‘GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS’ >> Where: The Actors’ Group, Dole Cannery Square >> When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through June 15 >> Cost: $20 (discounts available), $12 on Thursdays >> Info: www.taghawaii.net, 722-6941 An appreciative crowd tittered in all the right places at AJ Song’s only blockbuster scene playing the insufferably egocentric Blake, an emissary from headquarters who threatens the salesmen with firing if they don’t "close." Song shouts, swaggers, threatens, brags and expounds his salesman’s philosophy. "The only thing that counts in life is that you get them to sign on the line which is dotted," he sneers. The young actor has a little trouble with his delivery, sounding Southern at first, diverting briefly into bad Brooklynese before abandoning accent altogether. But he’s got powerful pipes and an intimidating air over a deceptively fresh face, and he uses both to advantage. Maleko McDonnell plays the hanky-wringing office manager, Williamson. The actor’s blank face hides a keen sense of comic timing. The audience howls at his solemn presentation of ridiculous sales-ese ("ABC — Always Be Closing"), and his fawning elevation to Blake’s waiting hands of "the new leads" (index cards listing potential buyers) is like an altar boy offering the host to a priest. In this complex stew of humor, hubris and humanity lies the genius of Mamet, who lays bare each character’s flaws alongside their dreams and their better selves. Stuck in a Catch-22 in which only those who sell are given the means to sell (the all-important new leads), the salesmen resort to bravado, rage, despair, puzzlement or a pitiful dwelling on the past, none very effective. Dann Seki as Levene, the elder statesman of the office, is thoughtful, persuasive, reflective yet inevitably the mendacious salesman. Stu Hirayama as Aaronow is flat-out hilarious as a clueless stumbler and bumbler never able to finish a sentence, guppy-mouthed and bug-eyed with a face of Silly Putty. Jim Aina as Moss comes as close to an ideal Mamet player as anyone with his spitfire delivery of cursing rants full of self-justifying conviction and a full range of gestures and expressions. With unassailable logic, he tries to rope Aaronow into a plot to burglarize the office to snag the all-important leads. "Why would I do it?" Aaronow wails helplessly. "You wouldn’t. That’s why I’m talking to you," Moss shoots back. Troy Ignacio as Roma, the flashiest dresser and hottest seller in the office, has a tour de force role. In a long scene in a bar, he philosophizes at a solitary, silent drinker ad nauseum: "What is our life? It’s looking forward or looking back, and that’s our life. Where is the moment, huh? What are we afraid of?" Later, like a snake shedding its skin, he oozes his way into the drinker’s company, whipping out his sales materials. The final act is cacophony. The office has been burglarized, the leads are gone, closings are being canceled, accusations and defenses are flying, people are interrupting their own rantings to yell "shut up" at others and every speech ends with an expletive. The play itself ends, however, with a whimper, not a bang — Roma breezing off to lunch (and no doubt another assault on an unsuspecting potential client), nothing decided, nothing fundamentally changed. Mamet is highly demanding of actors, requiring nuances of accent, delivery and movement to color the bold language, the comic timing of the classic "Who’s on first?" routine and moments of pathos amid the bathos. At TAG, director Eric Nemoto has the cast almost, but not quite, there. Still, it’s a lively evening of entertainment that leaves you pondering the message — just as theater ought. Previous Story 'Know your food' Next Story Magicless 'Maleficent'