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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  4,494 ratings  ·  177 reviews
In David Mamet's latest play, a male college instructor and his female student sit down to discuss her grades and in a terrifyingly short time become the participants in a modern reprise of the Inquisition. Innocuous remarks suddenly turn damning. Socratic dialogue gives way to heated assault. And the relationship between a somewhat fatuous teacher and his seemingly haples ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published 2010 by نشر بیدگل (first published 1993)
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I will say about Oleanna that when I saw Mamet's production of the play, I thought it was one of the most offensive depictions of feminism, so-called political correctness and campus life I'd ever seen. Then I was asked to be the dramaturg on the Yale Rep's production of the play, and discovered it's a much richer, balanced view of the kind of misunderstanding and conflict that could take place in any institution than Mamet himself may have even intended.

As Mamet so often does so well, these tw
No había leído nunca ‘Oleanna’, pero hace años había visto la adaptación cinematográfica que dirigió el mismo David Mamet. Supongo que puedo decir que, durante este tiempo que ha pasado, habré cambiado un poco porque las impresiones y la opinión que me ha dejado esta obra han variado ligeramente. La primera vez me irritó bastante. Me irritó básicamente porque el personaje femenino acusa de violación al personaje masculino, algo que es totalmente inventado. En aquel momento me irritó que una muje ...more
This is the first Mamet play I have read (sacrilege, I know) and I was pleasantly surprised. My only prior experience was a production of Sexual Perversity in Chicago which I found to be dated (reasonable) and stilted (unacceptable). I also find it annoying that actors, in general find his writing to be so brilliant. Plus the scenes I have seen people do never sound natural: too many cryptic pauses and unfinished thoughts, not enough contractions, and Mamet's penchant for saying "do you see?" in ...more
Chuck O'Connor
I loved this play and the film version of it when I was an actor but that was when I thought narrative was seated in the dynamic individualistic choice of character, and had no clue, in my mid 20s, how power structures worked.

This is a stupid play full of choice moments for actors to play but it lacks nuance and is completely misunderstood regarding the institution it investigates.

Narrative fiction of which I place plays should put the reader or viewer in a place of cognitive dissonance where
As for the significance of the title: To put it briefly, and to dispense with the historical background attached to it, "Oleanna" means a false utopia.

It is significant in the way, in this play, all ideals fail in the end. John might initially seem overly confident, full of ambitions and stuff, and Carol might appear as a hideous monster. But they are both only too human, striving after their oleannas.
This play is a powerful representation of the failure of language; of the impossibility of co
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
-John Dalberg-Acton

David Mamet's Oleanna starts off slowly but builds up incredibly fast. It left me flabbergasted on just how realistically dramatic and poignant it became. It's a two character play. John is a pretentious professor and Carol is a seemingly daft college student. What begins as a discussion over a grade quickly escalates to verbal sparring of equality and power.

This is my first play by Mamet and it was great. I like how it was a question of wh
Darren Cormier
I'm not a theater-goer. Going to a play is not necessarily on the top of my list for a night out. Yet I sometimes enjoy reading plays. I realize this is like reading sheet-music and lyrics without hearing the music performed: the performance and the emotions of the performer gives meanings to the notes, to the words: the reader/listener is not experiencing the piece as it's meant to be experienced. But, then again, perhaps reading a play without knowledge of the performance, without the stigma o ...more
Josh Drimmer
Probably best,

a) Read. (It's a tough play to stage, and avoid the Mamet-directed movie at all costs.)
b) Read without any knowledge of Mamet's opinions on this play. I think he wrote something more interesting than he knows.
This play was originally written in the early 90s. It has only gotten edgier over time, which is unusual.
Ben Peyton
I don't normally read plays, in fact I can't even remember why I picked this one up, so I know I'm a little out of league on this one but I found this to be jarring and uncomfortable. Something I don't normally experience when reading. I finished it yesterday in one sitting and I've still been thinking about it. Sometimes I feel like the play was not whole, or incomplete. As if there is whole swaths of it missing either on purpose or not. I'm giving it four stars because I can't remember the las ...more
Mamet Speak without the profanity... this play is a dysfunctional, miscommunicated conversation between a college professor and his student. Multiple interpretations - brings up great questions about ways in which we communicate.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Oleanna, David Mamet
عنوان: اولئانا؛ اثر: دیوید ممت؛ مترجم: علی اکبر علیزاد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، بیدگل، 1388، در 139 ص، شابک: 9786005193015؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م
Didn't like it as much as Glengarry Glen Ross but the Mamet magic is there: the "realistic" stuttering dialogue, the passive-aggressive power play, the black humor, even the vicious world of real-estate makes a cameo appearance. Then again I suppose every world is a vicious, merciless world if Mamet writes about it. In this case he tackles political correctness and sexual harrassment within an academic context. The one thing I didn't like was the fact that the ending hid no real surprise. You fi ...more
Terrificly tense! Ever since I read this I have wanted to see an actual production. As riveted as I was to the text I can only imagine how suspenseful it would be in person.
Both are right, both are wrong. And what happens when we hold tightly to our own position, and the heat turns up. Mamet is a master of speech and thought.
Tense microcosm focused on the gender and power dynamics implicit in the relationship between a male professor and his female student.
Timothy Faust
I don't think Mamet can ever hit us with anything as powerful as Oleanna. The play makes me physically uncomfortable. Stellar.
Es una obra interesante porque en cada página (sólo la he leído, no la he visto) los roles de los personajes cambian. Al principio parecen una cosa y acabas descubriendo que son otra. Como ya han comentado varios lectores, me sorprendieron un poco la reacción de Carol y la forma de la que ella narra las cosas para sacar provecho, esa inversión de los poderes que consigue con una interpretación. Personalmente, esta obra me ha dejado con un desasosiego bastante importante: no sé muy bien cuál de l ...more
Daniel Finch
To be perfectly honest...this book is extremely annoying! Having to analyse it in college was one of the view true moments of boredom within the two years. The actual premise of the book in it's argument over political correctness is in itself quite interesting; yet the constant butting in of both characters to one another along with the repetition is not only aggravating, but shows a sheer lack of manners! Rude!!

Although it is true that you can't really agree with what John is underst
Interesting in that the reader's interpretation creates the protagonist and antagonist in this play (which truly their is neither I suppose). Mamet writes this where it is easy to take the side of either character. It is interesting that what seems innocuous on the surface can be something so different when taken out of context and given a different perspective. This play certainly would be interesting to view from various directors/productions because it can be very different depending on how i ...more
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
You might want to ask me, WHY is this book on the film-hated-it shelf AND the pissing-me-off shelf, and yet it still has a 5-star rating? Because David Mamet is a fucking GENIUS, that's why. We watched the film of this (WATCH IT -- William H Macy is PHENOMENAL) in one of my Literature classes in college. For the FULL DURATION of that film, our entire class of 25+ alternately wanted to punch something/someone or rip our own hair out. It was infuriating on a scale I'd never encountered before. And ...more
Amazing! Mamet is the best living American playwright and this is why. Only a Mamet could pull off something this difficult, this ambiguous, this tense. Only a great writer could write a script with almost no complete sentences and have it still make sense and be powerful.

JOHN: No one thinks you’re stupid.
CAROL: No? What am I…?
CAROL: …what am I, then?
JOHN: I think you’re angry. Many people are. I have a telephone call that I have to make. And an appointment, which is rather pressing; th
William Johnson
This review is from my website Secure Immaturity and examines the movie as well:

David Mamet plays are not simply plays but experiences. And while the environment surrounding the characters change, the plot is usually a variation on a theme: men are proud but arrogant and women are always their downfall. Mamet plays are difficult enough to stomach on stage (misogynistic subject matter and very, very specific intonation of dialogue) that film versions of his work prove even more laborious.

Oleanna by David Mamet tells of the dismal relationship between a college professor and his student. The play questions the theory of higher education; it's purpose and function in today’s society. It also captures the many aspects of what could be preserved to be politically incorrect, in terms of sexuality and power. “Overcame prejudices. Economic, sexual, you cannot begin to imagine. And endure humiliation I pray that you and those you love never will encounter… To pursue that same dream of ...more
To date, this is the best Mamet play I've read (having previously read Speed-the-Plow and Glengarry Glenross). It's true to his fast paced and somewhat choppy style of dialogue, and the fact that Oleanna is a shorter play to begin with makes it seem like an even faster moving piece. Throughout the play, Carol is continually flustered by John's inattentiveness to a point where it almost seems needlessly repetitive. On the contrary, it is entirely the point to be repetitive and rather pointless si ...more
I'm not a theater-goer. Going to a play is not necessarily on the top of my list for a night out. Yet I sometimes enjoy reading plays. I realize this is like reading sheet-music and lyrics without hearing the music performed: the performance and the emotions of the performer gives meanings to the notes, to the words: the reader/listener is not experiencing the piece as it's meant to be experienced. But, then again, perhaps reading a play without knowledge of the performance, without the stigma o ...more
Jamilla Rice
I think this is another one of those things that will come to me in about 3-5 weeks. I'll be in the bathroom performing one of several types of ablutions and I will say yes, that dialogue was brilliant. Yes, it was so exigent, it's PC argument at a time before Family Guy, South Park, and Tosh.0, a time when there were things we could not say, at time when our language was held hostage. I just didn't like it. I appreciate the message, but it was to disjointed in its discourse, until the very end. ...more
I've been reading the news today and happened across the latest Sarah Palin story going around, with her use of the term "blood libel" to describe what's been said about her and other conservatives following the Giffords asassination attempt.

I'd never heard the term "blood libel" used before. My initial guess was that the term referred to basically the idea of false accusation of having "blood on your hands" - something horrible being your fault that really isn't. In theory, I suppose that defi
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David Alan Mamet is an American author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and film director. His works are known for their clever, terse, sometimes vulgar dialogue and arcane stylized phrasing, as well as for his exploration of masculinity.

As a playwright, he received Tony nominations for Glengarry Glen Ross (1984) and Speed-the-Plow (1988). As a screenwriter, he received Oscar nominations for Th
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