A female student charges her male professor with sexual exploitation in David Mamet's drama, which examines explosive contemporary issues — the assumption of power, intellectual freedom and sexual politics. The battle for power and control begins, but does not end on stage.
Inspired by the Clarence Thomas hearings of September 1991, playwright David Mamet presented Oleanna at the feet of the theatre community in May 1992. It is widely seen as a direct response to the hearings and the controversy and countrywide dialogue that ensued.
The play is also well known for making the audience squirm in their seats with discomfort over a touchy subject, yet leave them engaged in deep discussion at curtains end. In this regard, Oleanna reminds me of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt. No matter what side you choose, there are equally as powerful arguments for the other point of view and the debaters are swayed toward the other with each word. The official website even says, "Whatever side you take, you're wrong."
In other words: WARNING! Passionate discussions ahead!
The best plays leave you discussing the mechanics while strolling back to your room or home. Brilliant.
Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles have been tapped as the cast for the debut, and look to be handling it well according to the reviews.
Oleanna will make it's Broadway debut this year after playing Off-Broadway since it's inception.
Previews begin September 29, 2009 at John Golden Theatre with an Opening Night of October 11, 2009. The play is currently running open-ended.