Colin Sweetman enters a world where men have to work their way up, and where women just sleep with a producer

The subtitle of this article really only explains a sub-theme of this play. David Mamet’s 1988 piece is essentially about “standing aloof” in life, or deciding to “take part”. What better place to set such a film, then, than the office of a movie producer? The setting provides a perfect pretext where art, finance and human morals can all congregate in an orgy of desire, greed and power.

Dramsoc’s production is quite a boisterous one. Dialogue between the two protagonists Bobby Gould (Colm-Kenny Vaughan) and Charlie Fox (Gavin Drea) is orchestrated in call-and-response, as each drives and bounces increasingly forceful responses off the other.

This method of storytelling makes the play difficult not to watch. I had gotten no sleep the night before I watched Dramsoc’s preview, and had even fallen asleep in a class a few hours prior. Watching a preview performance in a small Arts Block classroom, however, Dramsoc’s Speed-the-Plow had me all eyes and ears. It is simply too difficult not to be captivated.

You might also think that, while both actors speak very quickly to each other, you may not be able to follow what they’re saying – but, in fact, they speak on the same topic so often that the general plot neatly unfurls itself in the mind of the bystander.

Elsewhere, Laura Linehan is convincing as the “do-whatever-I-have-to-do” temporary secretary, Karen, who sleeps with Bobby in order to get a movie made on her behalf.

The first half of the play is fast-paced and fluid, busy setting up character personas and generally outlaying lifestyles. The third quarter takes a slower tone, however, providing no light-hearted material for the audience to binge on – it could almost be argued that it’s too intense.

Then… boom! The setup erupts at the end into what feels like decades of pent-up pressure and bottled-up emotions. While Bobby remains idle, silent and calm, Charlie finally explodes in a fit of rage, having been “riding Bobby’s coattails” for too long only to have a small-time temp swoon in, have sex, and get on top of him.

Anyway, I’ll let you find the deeper meaning of it. I’m too busy doing other things like catching up on my sleep.

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