It all started with a Facebook post.
Meshaun Labrone Arnold uploaded a picture of the poster of the original Florida International University production of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” tagging all of the 2002 cast. As everyone reminisced about the production, Ivan Lopez got in contact with the right people at the FIU Theatre Department. And soon, the revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross” got on the ticket for FIU’s 2013 Alternative Theater Festival.
“To me it seemed like one of those things that just had to happen because everything seemed to be aligning perfectly,” said Lopez, who now owns his own theater company,White Rose Miami, and is an adjunct professor at the FIU Theatre Department. “When things like that happen, it’s best to just ride the wave.”
Written by David Mamet, the play is about four real estate agents who engage in unethical, and at times illegal, acts in order to sell undesirable real estate. The original production has been on stage in Broadway and the National Theater in London. A 1992 film adaptation included actors Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey and Al Pacino.
FIU’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” premiered 11 years ago, with eight students headlining the show. All eight have agreed to come back for the revival and so has the original director, FIU theater professor Wayne Robinson.
The Alternative Theater Festival started in 2006, when the department needed money to renovate the stage located in DM at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Every summer since then, the event is held to fund a needed project at the time, such as trips for classes or student competitions. This year, the event will raise dollars for scholarships to be awarded to theater students.
“The purpose of the event is also to give more opportunities for students to get exposed to theater,” said Marina Pareja, who is this year’s production manager and is also directing one of the festival’s show, “Reverse Psychology.”
“This is the first time that the entire cast of a play consists of alumni,” Pareja said. “But we always hope to have alumni involved in one way or another—whether it is acting, designing or directing.”
The cast of “Glengarry” now consists of seasoned actors, some of them based in South Florida and some in California, with some having performed in places such as Washington, D.C., and London.
“’Glengarry’ was the first show I was a part of when I was at FIU. It has, and will always have, a special place in my heart,” said Daniel Gutierrez ’06. Gutierrez moved to Los Angeles after graduation and currently works at the Ellen DeGeneres show.
The cast has agreed to have the script memorized by the time they meet for their first rehearsal—three days before the opening of the show on Aug. 8.
“We’ll be doing some Skype and Google+ meet-ups to try and run lines and talk some stuff out. It’s definitely going to be interesting,” Joe Llorens ’03, said. Since graduating, Llorens has performed for Disney and has done film and commercial work, but “Glengarry” will be his first stage experience in a while.
Despite all the challenges it will take to reunite a cast of eight scattered across the country and put together a show within a few days, the feeling of excitement is felt by all.
“We’ve been able to keep in touch through the years pretty well, but to be able to get back on stage with these guys is a dream come true,” Llorens said.
Info about the 2013 Alternative Theater Festival:
July 25-27 and Aug. 1-3: “A Thousand years,” a new play by Kenny Finkle. Directed by Michael Yawney. Synopsis: Make one wrong turn and it might take a millennium to get back to the one you love. A comedy about vast distances, tsunamis and coffee.
Aug. 8-10: “Glengarry Glen Ross” by David Mamet. Directed by Wayne E. Robinson Jr. Synopsis: Lie. Cheat. Steal. All in a day’s work.
All performances will begin at 8 p.m.
Location: Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center, Black Box Theater. Modesto A. Maidique Campus, 10910 S.W. 17th Street, Miami, FL 33199.
Tickets available at the door, $10 cash or check only, no advance sales. Special alumni reunion show will have a suggested donation at the door. Performances contain adult language and situations are not recommended for children.