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Oleanna

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Oleanna is a 1992 two-character play by David Mamet, about the power struggle between a university professor and one of his female students, who accuses him of sexual harassment and, by doing so, spoils his chances of being accorded tenure. The play's title, taken from a folk song, refers to a 19th-century escapist vision of utopia.

Mamet adapted his play into a 1994 film of the same name.

Set on an American campus, a seemingly innocuous conversation between a college professor and his female student warps into a nightmare which threatens to destroy them both, when she files a claim of sexual harassment against him.

With its take on the corrosive excesses of political correctness and exploration of the use and abuse of language, this is the ultimate drama of pupil power and student revenge.

The principal themes of the play have centered on the overall comparison to the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas debate during the Supreme Court hearing of the future Justice, and the amount of veracity which could be associated with the male side of the debate and the amount of veracity to associate with the female side. In the voice-over for the Criterion DVD edition of another Mamet film titled Homicide, Mamet stated that the theme of group affiliation was central to his portrayal of Carol when she announces her joining the activist group on campus.

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Oleanna

Theatre Address

Arts Theatre,
6-7 Great Newport Street,
London,
WC2H 7JB

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