James Ngcobo, the Artistic Director of the Joburg City Theatre will be directing David Mamet’s OLEANNA. A two-hander, written in 1992 that has been performed in some of the most prestigious venues around the world, with runs on Broadway and West End.

“Oleanna” is a compelling exploration of power dynamics, communication breakdowns, and the complexities of gender relations within the context of academia. David Mamet’s two-character play delves into the intense interactions between a male college professor, John, and his female student, Carol, as they navigate a series of discussions about her grades and academic progress.

The play unfolds in a rapid and intense manner, showcasing how seemingly harmless conversations can quickly escalate into tense confrontations. What begins as a simple meeting to discuss Carol’s academic performance soon spirals into a heated battle of words and ideologies. Mamet skilfully portrays the shifting dynamics of power and control, as well as the vulnerabilities and frustrations of both characters.

Through its sharp dialogue and provocative themes, “Oleanna” challenges the audience to question traditional notions of authority, education, and gender roles. The play’s structure and character development offer a nuanced portrayal of how misunderstandings, miscommunications, and differing perspectives can lead to explosive conflicts.

Performed by a talented duo, Altovise Lawrence as Carol and Mothusi Magano as John, the play’s emotional intensity and intellectual depth are heightened. The actors’ portrayals bring to life the complexities of the characters’ motivations, struggles, and moral ambiguities, inviting the audience to empathize with and critically evaluate each character’s actions and decisions.

Overall, “Oleanna” serves as a thought-provoking commentary on the abuse of power, censorship, and the blurred lines between mentorship and manipulation in educational settings. It challenges viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about human behavior and societal norms, making it a compelling and impactful theatrical experience.