David Mamet is widely considered the voice of contemporary American Theatre. His use of what is taken to be realistic language together with minimalist staging creates a postmodern combination which simultaneously pushes an audience in conflicting directions. The result is that initial audiences for Oleanna were aroused to applaud and loudly react to the ending of the play when a male teacher beats a female student. The issues the play raises about political correctness are turned on their head. Oleanna is a particularly complex play in terms of both form and content and this guide offers a theoretically informed introductory analysis.

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