Oleanna by David Mamet


In his 1992 play Oleanna, Mamet presents the power struggle between a university professor and one of his female students, who accuses him of sexual exploitation and, by doing so places his chances for tenure in jeopardy. The play’s title, taken from a folk song, refers to a 19th-century escapist vision of utopia. In 1994, Mamet adapted Oleanna into a film, which he directed. It starred William H. Macy and Debra Eisenstadt.

Director Stephen Drewes comments, “Oleanna knocked my socks off when I first encountered it nearly twenty years ago, and the intervening years haven’t diminished its impact. In fact, it may be even more timely today, as our economy forces us to question more and more the actual value of higher education. The student’s responsibilities to the institution are taken for granted, but what does the institution owe the student? What, in short, do we actually get our money?”

“[a] beautifully calibrated, consistently stimulating production” — Robert Avila, Bay Area Guardian

Playwright David Mamet
Venue Exit Theatre
Address 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco
Director Stephen Drewes
Cast Aaron Murphy
Frannie Morrison
Other Credits Duciana Thomas, Board Operator, House Manager
Ted Hlavac, Sound Design
Kara Penrose, Fight Director
Rising Moon Marketing, PR / Marketing
Stephen Drewes, Photography
Performance Dates June 6-16, 2013


David Mamet (Playwright), David Mamet is a prolific writer of plays about the darker side of the American experience, where profound truths emerge from what at first seem the most mundane conversations. His best known work includes DUCK VARIATIONS (1972), SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO (1975), AMERICAN BUFFALO (1975), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1984). His play, RACE, about race and ethnicity, opened in New York in late 2009 and was the first new play to recoup its investment in the 2009-2010 Broadway season. Mamet also has made a name for himself as a Hollywood screenwriter. Among his films are HOUSE OF GAMES, THE UNTOUCHABLES, HOFFA, and WAG THE DOG, for which he was co-winner of the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Stephen Drewes (Director) A fifth-generation San Franciscan, Drewes began his career in 1970 as an actor at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Since then, he has performed over forty roles with such companies as the Magic Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He holds an MA from UC Berkeley in Dramatic Art and an MFA in Directing from Brandeis University.

Drewes accepted his first professional directing assignment in 1975 for the Peoples Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and has since directed over 80 productions in every genre from children’s theatre to grand opera. He has been a member of the faculty at Boston University, Middlebury College and Colgate University, and was Artistic Director of The Publik Theatre in Cambridge, MA, where three of his productions won Boston Critics Circle Awards for Directing. Drewes has taught and directed extensively, published theatre and cabaret criticism, and has been the recipient of grants from the Packard Foundation and the California Arts Council. For three years he was the Resident stage Director for the Pocket Opera. Drewes taught at City College of San Francisco from 1988 to 2008.

Aaron Murphy (John) co-founded Spare Stage with Stephen Drewes in 2008, performing in productions of HERE, PRIVATE EYES, AFTERPLAY and ASHES TO ASHES, as well as producing THE UNEXPECTED MAN, which received three BATCC awards. Recently he has performed in ARMS AND THE MAN and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Center Rep), A DOLL’S HOUSE (Willows), and DOUBT: A PARABLE (Drama Association of Rossmoor). Other credits include SEVEN DAYS (SF Playhouse), GASLIGHT (Hapgood), DOUBT: A PARABLE (Interplayers), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, and BETRAYAL (Actors Ensemble of San Francisco). UNCLE VANYA, HEDDA GABLER, THE REAL INSPECTOR HOUND, THE HOMECOMING, and AMERICAN BUFFALO. In October he will perform in 444 DAYS with Golden Thread Productions. He earned his BFA in Acting at UC Santa Barbara. The production of Oleanna is a milestone in his collaboration with Stephen Drewes, which began in 1993.

Frannie Morrison (Carol) A recent graduate of the theatre program at San Francisco State University, Frannie Morrison is a member of the “Do it Live!” troupe, SFSU grads whose goal is to “vandalize the classics.” Morrison was one of the “Juliets” in the Mark Jackson production of the play by the same name that reimagined the Shakespeare classic using seven different Juliets. At SFSU, she played the title role in MEDEA, directed by Kimberly Johnson. She appears in the indie film, Prep School, now in post-production.

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