Thursday, September 9, 2010

Giving Mamet another chance

After a month off, my fall theatergoing starts this weekend. I'm heading back to the profane, cynical world of playwright David Mamet for Glengarry Glen Ross at the Gamm Theatre.

I've said before that I think Mamet has become less interested in writing a compelling narrative than in bludgeoning the audience with his views on politics or culture or the society in which we live.

My previous two Mamet outings, Speed-the-Plow and Race on Broadway, were disappointing for that reason. Neither his characters nor the situations they were in seemed wholly believable.

(Although I did love Raul Esparza's take on a desperate Hollywood producer in Speed-the-Plow.)

But I have hopes that the third time will be the charm, because I enjoyed the 1992 movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross.

It has a terrific cast including Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Jonathan Pryce, Ed Harris, Al Pacino and of course, Kevin Spacey, delivering the line: Will you go to lunch? (With you Kevin, anytime!)

The Pulitzer-winning Glengarry Glen Ross was first produced on Broadway in 1984. I think that was a time, before Speed-the-Plow and Race, when Mamet was still interested in telling a story. His small-time Chicago real estate agents, willing to do anything to make a sale, seemed real.

Bottom line - I don't mind a playwright's view of the world onstage but diatribes bore me. You've got to tell me a story. That's why I'm sitting in the theatre. So one more chance for you, David Mamet.

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