Eric Holmgren can’t stop loving the foul-mouthed ways of Richard Roma.
Holmgren is the actor and Roma, a slick, intimidating and conniving real estate salesman, in the play Glengarry Glen Ross. And when Holmgren’s talking about the David Mamet play, there’s no getting away from that F word, among others.
“This is a gritty play with real American dialogue,” says Holmgren. “Mamet knew these characters. They were racist. They were sexist. They were assholes.”
Holmgren is also the show’s producer.
Put simply, Glengarry is the story of four real estate salesmen at a Chicago office who are forced into a contest. The story also happens to be a social commentary which applies heavily to the world’s economic situation.
“The contest winner gets a Cadillac, second place gets a set of steak knives and the other two are fired,” Holmgren said.
“A lot of the financial problems the world is in now, especially Occupy Wall Street, this gives a window into the type of person who would sell you nothing, and tell you it’s something. Roma basically sells swampland in Florida, but that’s not what he ‘sells’ it as.
“It’s reminiscent of the mortgage financing and housing market collapse.”
The play won Mamet a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award in 1984 and became a critically acclaimed movie in 1992 with a cast of Hollywood stars including Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino as Roma.
“The play is a black comedy, however, while the movie is a drama,” Holmgren said. “The language is part of that. Glengarry holds one of the highest uses of the F word in a play. It’s on the edge for Victoria. We first performed it in Nanaimo and had people who walked out – it was too much for them.
“We live in such political correctness. But for me I love the drama, I love the conflict. Actors jump at opportunities to do plays like this.”
The Victoria production by Island Repertory Theatre features an all-local cast of Holmgren, Howie Siegel, Wes Borg, Morgan Cranny, Jason Stevens, Eric Holmgren, Dick Newson, Jaymes D. Goodman and Kevin Stinson.
“I’m really in love with it and I think Victoria audiences will enjoy it,” Holmgren said.
• What: Glengarry Glen Ross
• Where: Metro Studio, 1411 Quadra St.
• When: Nov. 16-19, 23-26 at 8p.m., Nov 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 2 p.m.
• Tickets: $20 at ticketrocket.org or 250-590-6291