Volume 91, Issue 86

Thursday, March 12, 1998

3,770 strong and growing


Some Barstool prophetizing

©Geoff Robins/Gazette

By Jill Sutherly
Gazette Staff

In essence, the play Barstool Words begins like a quirky, light-hearted episode of Seinfeld but ends up taking some incredibly dark and disturbing turns along the way.

With the student-written and directed production, Barstool Words, first-year Western Arts student Jeff Glickman has a lot on his mind. As director, he has every right to be nervous, but from the look of the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night, the cast and crew appear to have nearly every production detail accounted for and practised to perfection.

The 90-minute play, which was originally written by 18-year-old New York University student Josh Ben Friedman, became the project of Glickman many months back.

As a first-time director, he explains how it was very difficult to find the support he needed for such a large project, but finally managed to talk to the right people in order to get started. As friends, Friedman and Glickman sat down together and made a rewrite of the play which involves merely two actors engaged in an extremely awkward series of conversations pertaining to their lives.

"The issues which the play deals with are not simple – it tackles some dark subjects," Glickman remarks. "Basically, it's a play about human respect, or lack thereof."

Throughout the off-beat conversation between the two main characters, played by Brandon Leudke and Tony Granziol, the script touches upon such hard-hitting issues as homosexuality, anger, revenge and the overall nature of humankind. The plot revolves around two men attempting to deal with their troubled relationships by plotting a startling attack of revenge against a former ex-girlfriend.

While the plan begins in good-natured humour, things get out of hand with every minute of contemplation and soon, what was once a 'harmless' joke gradually turns terrifying. At times, the dialogue becomes rather sharp-edged and it is expected that some audience members are sure to feel uncomfortable, yet Glickman assures that the play is by no means meant to offend.

Not a shallow script by any means, Barstool Words possesses a depth which can be described as very down-to-earth and distinctly human. Though the play merely consists of two actors and one basic set, the plot is engaging and believable. The characters are played very strongly by both Leudke and Granziol, as they both put forth equally superior performances.

Enticing from beginning to end, Barstool Words has turned into an impressive accomplishment for both the cast and crew, as well as for the young and upcoming playwright Josh Ben Friedman, who will be in attendance for tonight's opening show. The production runs from March 12-14 at 8 p.m. in University College, Rm. 224.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998