Theater archives

Dear Al Pacino…


I loved you in your last Broadway appearance, as the controversial Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice; you were fiery and poignant and commanding, a true star.

And I figured I’d adore you in the new Glengarry Glen Ross revival because David Mamet could well be your real bard.

After all, you were in the 1992 movie version (albeit in a different role; this time you’re the desperate realtor Shelly Levene) and you generally give his con artist lingo a freewheeling voice that makes it flow.

And in Act One, I did enjoy your shifty, pained take on Levene. You had the cadences down, with all the script’s stammering, gear switches, and insistence.

But then came Act Two!

And you really slowed the action down to a halt, honey!

You’d speak in four or five….words at a time and then…’d pause and say….another four or five…..words…

And what’s more, you’d do something a little different on each phrase–whether it be a physical or vocal gesture–so it became a maddening string of disconnected phrases, each with a different set of shtick hanging from it.

The self indulgent result sucked a lot of energy out of the play and didn’t allow for much of a character continuum either.

Mamet’s manic exchanges work best at a rat-tat-tat pace, but either you or the director (or both) bizarrely decided to turn the playwright’s classic monologues into showoffy mo…no…lo…gue….s.

You didn’t sell me on them, but I don’t want my deposit back because it was still sort of a treat to see you up there trying your stuff.

Just talk without ellipses for Chriss…….sa….ke….!