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Oleanna at the Phoenicia Playhouse


  • Phoenicia Playhouse 10 Church St Phoenicia NY United States (map)

In Oleanna, playwright David Mamet locks a man and a woman alone together in an office where, depending on your point of view, an act of sexual harassment does or does not occur. Conflicts of sex, power, and political correctness are unleashed but never resolved. The audience is left to debate about what they have witnessed and to decide whether it veered into the realm of sexual harassment. Arguments are sure to follow. Oleanna, written in the early 1990’s as a response to the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, opens the 2018/19 Phoenicia Playhouse season. But while written nearly 3 decades ago, Oleanna resonates as never before during the #metoo era. We are witnesses to a struggle between a man and a woman and are left to decide for ourselves if an incident of harassment occurred, and if so, to what degree did it occur. Serious enough to destroy a man’s career? Phoenicia Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Michael Koegel, discusses his reasons for producing this play. “Over the winter when the #metoo movement exploded, I was truly shocked by the egregiousness of some of the crimes, especially those of Harvey Weinstein.” “But then as the #metoo movement gathered momentum, some of the reports of sexual harassment felt dubious to me. People were judging crimes based on what they read on Facebook, and it felt like there was no room for candid debate. My hope is that our production of Oleanna will continue this conversation.” Playwright and actor David Smilow makes his performance debut at the Phoenicia Playhouse as John, the pedantic but sincere, University Professor, who councils Carol, Geneva Turner (Moon Over Buffalo, WWII Christmas Radio Play, ). Audience members can witness the interaction between the two main characters a university professor who is up for tenure (David Smilow) and an undergraduate seeking a better grade (Geneva Turner), and judge for themselves. What transpired between the two? Should a touch on the shoulder or a few lines of suggestive conversation be interpreted as menacing or innocuous. Oleanna opens on Friday Oct. 5th and runs for three weekends. Performances are at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2pm on Sunday matinees. Tickets are $20 general admission and $18 for seniors and students. For ticket info please call the Box Office at 845-688-2279. To buy tickets on line go to Phoeniciaplayhouse.com