The Carlyle Players Theater Group will be returning to the Mineola Memorial Library on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. for a free matinée performance of the play Oleanna. The theater group, which was founded in 2016, was last seen in the Village of Mineola this past May for their successful performance of The Heiress.
Written by David Mamet and directed by Anthony Mouras, Oleanna is a drama that deals with hard-hitting subjects of sexual harassment and political correctness—topics that are prevalent in today’s headlines.
The dramatic play follows college professor John who meets with Carol, one of his students, alone in his office. Their conversation goes in many different directions and becomes quite personal towards the end.
“This play was written in the early nineties,” said Nick D’Avanzo who plays John. “It rings even more true today. It’s a hot topic right now and it’s a good thing to be talked about by raising awareness.”
D’Avanzo said reading Mamet’s work was a true eye opener, which forced him to see that there is always more than one way to look at a situation.
“John is like so many successful men. He doesn’t see how his actions affect the opposite sex, especially his female students, who he has so much power over,” explained D’Avanzo. “John is a great character to play as he goes through so many emotions in just an hour and a half.”
According to Kaytee Montano who plays Carol, Oleanna is a power-struggle while the overall themes of the play are timeless.
“Sexual harassment and political correctness are always going to be prevalent topics, only now they aren’t hushed,” explained Montano. “The Time’s Up and the #MeToo movements are a huge part of that exposure. This play really makes you think and it makes you question what is appropriate.”
Audience members who attend the play will see both the male and female perspective of the story and will have to judge for themselves who is in the wrong or if both are innocent.
Montano said the audience will also see her character Carol begin as a lost and troubled college student who is looking for guidance wherever she can find it, even including her professor.
“Throughout the play, you see a strength develop in her and she begins to stand up for herself and what she believes in,” said Montano. “Carol goes through a rollercoaster of a character arc and it’s certainly tough to play, but it’s what makes it fun as an actor.”
Due to the overwhelming response the Carlyle Players received during The Heiress, D’Avanzo said the residents of Mineola will certainly enjoy watching Oleanna.
“It is not a little piece of afternoon theater that you forget as soon as the house lights come back on. This is something that is going to stay with you,” said Montano. “The topics raised in Oleanna occur in everyday lives. It is not fantasy and it’s time we face it head-on.”