Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (MFA)

Degree Level





Amy Herzberg

Committee Member

Kate L. Frank

Second Committee Member

Michael Landman


performing arts, theater, character analysis, script analysis


Glengarry Glen Ross is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Mamet. This paper is a practical guide for the actor to understanding the events of the play and, specifically, to approaching the role of Richard Roma, with a particular emphasis on Michael Chekhov’s psycho-physical work. First, I will discuss the circumstances, values and themes of the world of the play in relation to the character Shelley Levene as the main agent of the events. Then my focus in character analysis will shift to Richard Roma as the lead character of the ensemble. Together, the two characters create a contrasting duo between old and young, unaccomplished and hyper-successful. Shelley is the real estate agent who drives action. However, his opposite in Roma is the most successful salesman at the real estate agency.

While the initial event is what happens right before the play starts to set its action in motion, the central event is the highest point of action, which leads to the main event that introduces the resolution of the storyline. Again, the paper starts with an analysis of Shelley and his relationship to the initial, central and main events and ends with a character analysis of Roma and a discussion of how an actor might begin to create a performance using Chekhov’s movement work. It is through such script and character interpretation that an actor is able to achieve depth and specificity, while uncovering layers of meaning in performance.