Photos: BarnArts 5th Annual Winter Chorals
Tuesday, December 22, 2015

BarnArts, ArtisTree To Present An Evening Of Cabaret
Monday, December 7, 2015

BarnArts Revisits Wild West With ‘Jesse’
Friday, September 11, 2015

Photos: Jesse and The Bandit Queen Performance
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Photos: BarnArts’ ‘Jungle Book Kids’
Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Photos: Race Around The Lake, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Photos: BarnArts Teen Touring Co
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Photos: Masquerade Jazz Funk Carnival
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Director Hopes Small-Town Play Gets Big Laughs
Thursday, January 29, 2015

BarnArts 4th Annual Winter Carols Friday
Friday, December 19, 2014

Photos: ’39 Steps’ BarnArts Production
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Photos: Willy Wonka Jr., BarnArts Production
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Photo Gallery: Little Shop Of Horrors BarnArts
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Photo Gallery: Race Around The Lake Benefit
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Photo Gallery: Barnard Jazz Funk Masquerade
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Photo Gallery: Red Black and Green Revolutionary Eco-Music Tour
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Photo Gallery: ‘ART’ Performance by BarnArts
Thursday, September 5, 2013

Photo Gallery: ‘Grease’ Production Rehearsal
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Photo Gallery: Master Class by Terrence McNally, BarnArts
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photo Gallery: Porgy and Bess, BarnArts
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Photo Gallery: BarnArts Masquerade Jazz and Funk Carnival
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Photo Gallery: Almost Maine, A BarnArts Performance
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photo Gallery: BarnArts Winter Caroling Concert
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo Gallery: Art & Soul, BarnArts Event
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photo Gallery: Eleemosynary, BarnArts Production
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Photo Gallery: ‘Oliver’, Theatre Production by BarnArts
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Photo Gallery: BarnArts New Life Spring Concert
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Photo Gallery: ‘Cinderella’ at UU Church in Barnard
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

VIDEO: Introducing BarnArts!
Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo Gallery: BarnArts Community Arts
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Photo Gallery: Winter Recital with Barnard Residents
Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Article published Jun 21, 2015
Theater Review: ‘Oleanna’ brings out the worst in everyone
By Jim Lowe
Staff Writer, Rutland Herald
David Mamet’s “Oleanna,” perhaps the most controversial play by an already controversial playwright, has proven capable of driving audiences to verbal fisticuffs.

Is John a misguided college professor who tries too hard, or a sexually domineering cad who takes advantage of his students? Is Carol just a shy underachieving student, or a bloodthirsty barracuda for the women’s movement?

BarnArts Center for the Arts opened a production of “Oleanna” on Friday at the Woodstock Little Theater, that, while resulting in no fisticuffs in the audience, proved intense and truly exciting.

(This community theater production can be seen at 5:30 p.m. today at the Little Theater, followed by a discussion, or June 26-28 at the Clark Farm Common in Barnard.)

“Oleanna,” Mamet’s 1992 two-character play, explores the power struggle between a university professor and one of his female students, who accuses him of sexual exploitation, thus ruining his chances for tenure. Mamet adapted the play into a less successful feature film in 1994 starring William H. Macy and Debra Eisenstadt.

The play is generally considered to be Mamet’s response to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas, when the testimony of Anita F. Hill inspired an angry debate about sexual harassment in the workplace.

The play opens in John’s office, where Carol, one of his college students, is seeking help and a good grade for a class she says she doesn’t understand. A mediocre professor, he is somewhat preoccupied by his tenure hearing and the purchase of a new house. She is terribly shy and inarticulate, so the communication is uncomfortable at best.

Still, John and Carol manage to share their mutual insecurities about their place in life, and he offers her private tutoring and a good grade. Carol still seems confused and afraid, so he hugs her, consoling her. They agree to meet again.

At least, that’s what John thinks is going to happen. Apparently, she feels quite differently. The sparks fly — before the explosion.

Mamet is clearly manipulating his audience — there had to be something more that happened between Acts One and Two, that aren’t revealed, in order for Acts Two and Three to make sense — but the playwright is such a master craftsman that this goes unnoticed. And it’s a hell of a ride.

The BarnArts production, directed by David Eastman, took the audience on that ride. Memory Apata, an experienced actress now living in Lebanon, N.H., gave Carol dimension, as from the pathetic student to the assured and angry one, most importantly making them consistent.

It took Justin Cipriano Usle, of Norwich, a few moments to settle into his role as John, yet he successfully managed the switch from confident to desperate seamlessly. More importantly, Apata and Usle interacted with an intimacy that made both sympathetic — and that’s what makes this play work.

At Friday’s opening performance, the dialogue — albeit very difficult dialogue — was a little clumsy at first, and the pace throughout was a little slow for Mamet. (It’s about the words.) Still, it was a powerful and convincing performance.

Community theater doesn’t get much better than BarnArts’ “Oleanna.”