Mamet, David (1947—)

views updated

Mamet, David (1947—)

One of the most important American playwrights of the twentieth century, David Mamet is the voice of the common man—or even criminal—in the theater. He has been acclaimed for his gritty depictions of con men, thieves, and other morally bereft characters whose language is rife with the kind of stuttering, pausing, and obscenities that occur in real-life conversation. Despite the spartan phrasing and lack of eloquence in the dialogue, the staccato rhythm ends up flowing naturally, making Mamet's dialogue unique, though he is sometimes roughly compared to fellow author Harold Pinter. Mamet was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, the tale of shady salesmen in a cutthroat real estate sales office. He has also cultivated a career in feature films as a screenwriter, director, and sometimes producer.

—Geri Speace

Further Reading:

Bigsby, C. W. E. David Mamet. London and New York, Methuen, 1985.

Brewer, Gay. David Mamet and Film: Illusion/Disillusion in a Wounded Land. Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland, 1993.

Carroll, Dennis. David Mamet. New York, St. Martin's, 1987.

Kane, Leslie. Weasels and Wisemen: Ethics and Ethnicity in the Work of David Mamet. New York, St. Martin's, 1999.

Mamet, David. A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays. London and Boston, Faber and Faber, 1994.