Glengarry Glen Ross is to beleaguered salespeople as A Confederacy of Dunces is to angry, sweaty, hot dog vendors, Naked Lunch is to heroin-addicted writers and A Fan's Notes is to alcoholic football aficionados -- that is to say it shows how the sausage is made and it ain't pretty. Sales executives recently shared their thoughts in the May 2005 issue of Inc. on what the David Mamet masterpiece means to them -- definitely a cult favorite for those in the know. "It's artistically significant and evokes a lot of emotion illustrating such a clear link between motivation and outcome," says John Oesch, "if people are rewarded for only eating what they kill then they will game the system as much as they can." Oesch, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, uses clips from the 1992 movie in his emotionally intelligent leadership course to show modern managers that there are better ways to build sustainable, dedicated, ownership within a company than threats and manipulation.
But that's not what audiences pay $100 a ticket to see. They want bloodletting, flop sweat and tears (of both joy and sorrow preferably). They want drama. As Glengarry Glen Ross returns to Broadway on May 1st, Patrick J. Sauer spoke with the stars of the production at the Royale Theater. Here are a grab bag of their thoughts about salesmen, swampland, and selling a lie.
As they say in the theater, "Never Be Closing."