The Play Is the Newest From a Pulitzer Prize Winner
By Zach Armstrong
A new play by a Pulitzer Prize winner is making its debut at the Venice-based Electric Lodge with a star-studded cast that includes Shia LaBeouf, Chris Bauer, Dominic Hoffman and Evan Jonigkeit.
Henry Johnson, written by David Mamet and directed by Marja-Lewis Ryan, is a four-scene production lasting just over an hour. It depicts a college boy, Henry, who gets arrested after his friend induces a woman to miscarry after impregnating her. LaBeouf plays the role of Henry’s cellmate, Gene, whose interactions with the main character carry the play.
“The instant [LaBeouf] materializes, something electric happens. The whole audience leans forward.” writes Peter Debruge in his review for Variety. “Maybe it’s the way LaBeouf delivers his lines, mumbling slightly. That’s a tell that he’s on a different wavelength from the three other actors in the cast, who articulate every word of Mamet’s script. But LaBeouf is bringing more to the text. The character — or maybe it’s the performer — seems tortured and slightly volatile.”
It is the latest performed work by Mamet, a renowned playwright and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play for ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’. His play American Buffalo’ (1975) was performed by Al Pacino on Broadway and earned the playwright an ‘Award Obie’. Mamet has also been celebrated as a screenwriter for his version of ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ (1981) ‘The Verdict (1982) which was nominated for an Oscar.
The Electric Lodge theater is located at 1416 Electric Ave. The venue hosts public classes for performers along with various theater productions.