Alchemist Theatre Receives Cease-And-Desist Letter for Taking Liberties with Mamet's OLEANNA
TUTS and their controversial changes to HANDS ON A HARDBODY isn't the only production in the news this week in trouble for violating its licensing agreement.
Milwaukee's Alchemist Theatre was forced to cancel its production of David Mamet's Oleanna after only one performance. According to the Journal Sentinel, the theatre received a cease-and-desist letter from Mamet's representatives telling them to stop the production because they cast a male actor in the play's lead female role.
David Mamet's Oleanna is a gripping account of a power struggle between a male university professor and one of his female students. This incendiary play is regarded as one of the most provocative dramas of our time, dividing audiences into heated debate by compelling them to side with either character. In Alchemist's production of Oleanna, Ben Parman played Carol, while David Sapiro played John.
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Erica Case and Aaron Kopec, owners of Alchemist Theatre, stated, "We excitedly brought this story to the stage because even though it was written years ago, the unfortunate story that it tells is still relevant today. We auditioned for this show looking for the best talent, not looking for a gender. When Ben Parman auditioned we saw the reality that this relationship, which is more about power, is not gender-specific but gender-neutral. We stayed true to each of David Mamet's powerful words and did not change the character of Carol but allowed the reality of gender and relationship fluidity to add to the impact of the story. We are so very proud of the result, of both Ben and David Sapiro's talent, and Erin Eggers' direction."
Alchemist openned Oleanna this past Thursday and recieved the cease-and-desist letter the following day as the reviews started coming in. Mamet and his representatives have long had a history of being very protective over his plays.