Mamet’s “Oleanna” staged at the White Horse, Jan. 22-29

Press release from White Horse Black Mountain:

Oleanna, playwright David Mamet’s explosive exploration of power and gender politics in academia, debuted in 1992 in the wake of, and partially in reaction to, the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill hearings. The issues Mamet probes are as relevant today as they were then, and the two-character play continues to create controversy and heated discussion among critics and theater-goers alike. Local audiences will have the chance to experience intimate in-the-round productions of Oleanna during a four-night run at the White Horse Black Mountain on Sunday, January 22; Thursday, January 26; Friday, January 27 and Sunday, January 29. All shows start at at 8 p.m. The play, presented by LEAD Productions and directed by TJ Derham, stars Richard Handy and Hila Sullivan.

Oleanna takes its name from a folk song satirizing a failed 19th-century utopian community, but the setting is the supposed ivory towers of academia. It examines communication and miscommunication between a male professor and a struggling female student who initially seeks out his tutelage but later brings charges of sexual harassment that derail the teacher’s career. Typically, Mamet offers no easy answers or clear heroes and villains, and each viewer may see the play in a very different light. Neither character is entirely likable and their motives are unclear, but Oleanna, with it’s trademark staccato, overlapping lines, remains a controversial tour-de-force. In an era when the term “political correctness” is a flashpoint, the play is especially timely.

LEAD productions is the Asheville-based staging arm of NYS3, Meisner method Conservatory for the Southeast.

Advance tickets available online at:

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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