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Mamet, David 1947–

MAMET, David 1947–

(Richard Weisz)

PERSONAL

Surname is pronounced "Mam–it"; full name, David Alan Mamet; born November 30, 1947, in Chicago (some sources cite Flossmoor), IL; son of Bernard Morris (an attorney) and Lenore June (a teacher; maiden name, Silver) Mamet; brother of Lynn Mamet (a writer and producer) and Tony Mamet (an actor); married Lindsay Crouse (an actress), December 21, 1977 (divorced); married Rebecca Pidgeon (an actress, singer, and songwriter), September 22, 1991; children: (first marriage) Willa, Zosia; (second marriage) Clara, Noah. Education: Studied acting at Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, New York City, 1968–69; Goddard College, B.A., 1969. Religion: Judaism.

Addresses: Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

Career: Writer, producer, director, and actor. Actor in New England summer theatre productions, 1969; stage manager in New York City, 1969–70; St. Nicholas Company, Plainfield, VT, founding member and artistic director, 1972; St. Nicholas Theatre Company, Chicago, IL, founding member, 1973, artistic director, 1973–76, member of board of directors, beginning 1973; Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL, associate artistic director, 1978–79, playwright in residence, 1978–84; New Theatre Company, Chicago, IL, associate director, beginning 1985; Hull House Theatre, Chicago, IL, worked as stagehand. Marlboro College, special lecturer in drama, 1970; Goddard College, artist in residence and instructor, 1971–73; Illinois Arts Council, faculty member, 1974; University of Chicago, visiting lecturer, 1975–76 and 1979; Yale University, teaching fellow at School of Drama, 1976–77; New York University, visiting lecturer at the Tisch School of the Arts, 1981, cofounder of Atlantic Theatre Company, 1988, and chair of Atlantic Theatre Company board of directors; Columbia University, associate professor of film, beginning 1988; Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, founding member of Dinglefest Theatre. Appeared in a local television religious program in the Chicago, IL area. Worked at Second City Theatre, Chicago, IL, as an assistant manager of a real estate office, Chicago, IL, and as a cartoonist, factory worker, real estate agent, window washer, office cleaner, taxi driver, truck driver, short order cook, and salesperson. Wartime service: Served in the U.S. Merchant Marines.

Member: International PEN, Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America, Actors' Equity Association, Randolph A. Hollister Association, United Steelworkers of America.

Awards, Honors: Joseph Jefferson awards, 1975, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and 1976, for American Buffalo; Obie Award, Village Voice, best new playwright, 1976, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago and American Buffalo; children's theatre grant, New York State Council on the Arts, 1976; Rockefeller Foundation grant, 1976; Columbia Broadcasting System creative writing fellowship for School of Drama, Yale University, 1976–77; New York Drama Critics Circle Award, best American play, 1977, for American Buffalo; Outer Critics Circle Award, 1978, for contributions to the American theatre; Obie awards (with others), best American play, and outstanding playwriting, both 1983, for Edmond; Academy Award nomination, best screenplay adaptation, Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay for a motion picture, and Screen Award nomination, Writers Guild of America, best drama adapted from another medium, all 1983, for The Verdict; Laurence Olivier Award, Society of West End Theatre, best play, 1983, Pulitzer Prize for drama, Elizabeth Hull–Kate Warriner Award, Dramatists Guild, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, best American play, Joseph Dintenfass Award, and Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best play, all 1984, all for the stage play Glengarry Glen Ross; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best reproduction of a play, 1984, for American Buffalo; American–Institute Award in Literature, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1986; Writers Guild of America Award nomination, best screenplay based on material from another medium, 1988, for The Untouchables; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best play, 1988, for Speed–the–Plow; Golden Osella, best original screenplay, and Pasinetti Award, best film, both Venice International Film Festival, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay for a motion picture, all 1988, and London Critics Circle Film Award, screenwriter of the year, 1989, all for House of Games; Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination (with Shel Silverstein), Mystery Writers of America, best motion picture, 1989, for Things Change; nomination for Golden Palm, Cannes International Film Festival, 1991, and London Critics Circle Film Award, screenwriter of the year, 1992, both for Homicide; Screen Award nomination, Writers Guild of America, best screenplay based on material previously produced or published, 1993, for the film Glengarry Glen Ross; honorable mention for Wise Owl Award (with others), Retirement Research Foundation, best television and theatrical film fiction, 1994, for A Life in the Theatre; Obie Award, 1995, for The Cryptogram; honorary D.Litt., Dartmouth College, 1996; Academy Award nomination, best screenplay adaptation, Golden Globe Award nomination, best screenplay for a motion picture, and Screen Award nomination, Writers Guild of America, best screenplay based on material previously produced or published, all 1998, and Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best screenplay—adapted, 1999, all with Hilary Henkin, all for Wag the Dog; Independent Spirit Award nomination, Independent Features Project/West, best screenplay, and Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, best motion picture, both 1999, for The Spanish Prisoner; Atlantic Theatre Company staged an entire season of Mamet's plays for its 1999–2000 season; Los Charales Award, Ajijic International Film Festival, best studio feature film, and Christopher Award, feature film category, 2000, both for The Winslow Boy; Jury Award, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, best film, 2000, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, Golden Satellite Award nomination, International Press Academy, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, and Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, all best screenplay, 2001, all for State and Main; Laurence Olivier award nomination, best new comedy, 2002, for Boston Marriage. The David Mamet Society has been founded in his name as well as its newsletter, DM: The David Mamet Review.

CREDITS

Stage Director:

Beyond the Horizon, St. Nicholas Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1974.

The Woods (two–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1977.

Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1979.

Twelfth Night, Circle Repertory Theatre, 1980.

A Sermon (one–act), Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, 1981.

The Woods (two–act), Second Stage Theatre, New York City, 1982.

Litko (double–bill with Shoehorn), Hartley House Theatre, New York City, 1984.

Oleanna, American Repertory Theatre, Hasty Pudding Theatre, Cambridge, MA, 1991–1992, then Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1992–1994, other productions.

The Cryptogram, London, 1994, later C. Walsh Theatre, Boston, MA, 1995, then Westside Arts Theatre Upstairs, New York City, 1995.

Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants (solo show), Second Stage Theatre, McGinn–Cazale Theatre, New York City, 1994, c. 1998.

Dangerous Corner, Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City, 1995.

Ricky Jay: On the Stem (solo show), Second Stage Theatre, 2002.

Dr. Faustus, Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 2004.

House manager and lighting technician for a production of The Fantasticks, off–Broadway.

Stage Appearances:

Ricky Jay and David Mamet: Two Hussies, Town Hall Theatre, New York City, 2001.

Film Director:

House of Games, Orion, 1987.

Things Change, Columbia, 1988.

Homicide, Columbia, 1991.

Oleanna, Samuel Goldwyn, 1994.

The Spanish Prisoner, Sony Pictures Classics, 1997.

The Winslow Boy, Sony Pictures Classics, 1999.

State and Main (also known as Sequences et consequences), Fine Line, 2000.

Heist (also known as Le vol), Warner Bros., 2001.

Spartan, Warner Bros., 2004.

Whistle, 2005.

Film Work; Other:

Associate producer, Hoffa, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

Film Appearances:

Herb, Black Widow, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1987.

Television Work; Movies:

Executive producer, Lansky, HBO, 1999.

Television Work; Specials:

Executive producer, "A Life in the Theatre," Great Performances, PBS, 1979.

Executive producer (with Michael Hausman), "Lip Service," HBO Showcase, HBO, 1988.

Executive producer, A Life in the Theatre, TNT, 1993.

Director, Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, HBO, 1996.

Director, Catastrophe, PBS, 2000.

Television Director; Episodic:

"Strays," The Shield, FX Network, 2004.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Himself, Changing Stages, PBS, 2001.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Brown–haired man, "The Water Engine," TNT Screenworks, TNT, 1992.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Himself, "Sanford Meisner—The Theatre's Best Kept Secret," American Masters, PBS, 1990.

Himself, Chicago on Stage, PBS, 1995.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1984.

Himself, The South Bank Show, London Weekend Television, 1985.

Voice, "New Phone System," Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist (animated), Comedy Central, 1997.

The Directors, 2004.

WRITINGS

Stage Plays:

Lakeboat (one–act), Marlboro Theatre Workshop, Marlboro, VT, 1970, revised version produced in Milwaukee, WI, 1980, then Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1982, later Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1982, published by Grove Press, 1981, and in collections.

Mackinac (for children), St. Nicholas Company, Goddard College Theatre, Plainfield, VT, 1972.

Marranos, Chicago, IL, c. 1972.

Duck Variations (one–act), St. Nicholas Company, Goddard College Theatre, 1972, then Theatre at St. Clement's Church, New York City, 1975, then Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, 1976–1977, later Regent Theatre, London, 1977, published in collections.

The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15, Chicago, IL, 1974, published in collections.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago (one–act), Organic Theatre Company, Chicago, IL, 1974, then Theatre at St. Clement's Church, 1975, then Cherry Lane Theatre, 1976, later Regent Theatre, 1977, published in collections.

Squirrels (one–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1974, then King's Head Theatre, London, 1993, published by Samuel French, 1982, and in collections.

American Buffalo (two–act), Goodman Theatre, Stage Two, Chicago, IL, 1975, then Theatre at St. Clement's Church, 1976, revised version produced at Ethel Barrymore Theatre and Belasco Theatre, New York City, 1977, then Cottesloe Theatre, London, 1978, later Circle in the Square Downtown, New York City, 1981–1982, and Booth Theatre, New York City, 1983, published by Grove Press, 1977, and in collections.

Reunion (one–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1976, produced in a double–bill with Dark Pony, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT, 1977, produced with Dark Pony and The Sanctity of Marriage as Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1979, published in collections.

All Men Are Whores: An Inquiry, Yale Cabaret, New Haven, 1977, published in collections.

Mr. Happiness (monologue), produced in a double–bill with The Water Engine: An American Fable (two–act), New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, Martinson Hall, 1977–1978, and Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1978, published with The Water Engine: An American Fable, Grove Press, 1978, and in collections.

The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two–Speed Clock (for children), St. Nicholas Theatre, then Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, Queens, New York City, both 1977, published by Dramatic Publishing Company, 1978, and in collections.

The Water Engine: An American Fable (two–act; based on his radio play), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1977, produced in a double–bill with Mr. Happiness, New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, Martinson Hall, New York City, 1977–1978, and Plymouth Theatre, 1978, published with Mr. Happiness, Grove Press, 1978, and in collections.

A Life in the Theatre (one–act), Goodman Theatre, Stage Two, 1977, then Theatre De Lys (now Lucille Lortel Theatre), New York City, 1977–1978, later Open Space Theatre, London, 1979, published by Grove Press, 1978.

Dark Pony (one–act), produced in a double–bill with Reunion, Yale Repertory Theatre, 1977, produced with Reunion and The Sanctity of Marriage as Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, 1979, published in collections.

The Woods (two–act), St. Nicholas Theatre, 1977, then New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theatre, Estelle R. Newman Theatre, New York City, 1979, later Second Stage Theatre, New York City, 1982, then London, 1984, published by Grove Press, 1979, and in collections.

Libretto, Lone Canoe; or, The Explorer (musical), music and lyrics by Alaric Jans, Goodman Theatre, 1979.

The Sanctity of Marriage (one–act), produced with Reunion and Dark Pony as Reunion, Circle Repertory Theatre, 1979, published in collections.

Shoeshine (one–act), Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, 1979, published in collections.

Prairie du Chien (one–act), first produced in 1979, produced in a double–bill with The Shawl, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, New York City, 1985–1986, produced in London, 1986, published with The Shawl, Grove Press, 1985, and in collections.

The Blue Hour: City Sketches, produced in 1981, published as The Blue City Sketches, Dramatists Play Service, and in collections.

Donny March, produced in 1981.

In Old Vermont, produced in 1981, published in collections.

Litko, produced in 1981, produced in a double–bill with Shoehorn, Hartley House Theatre, New York City, 1984, published in collections.

A Sermon (one–act), Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1981, then London, 1987, published in collections.

Edmond, Goodman Theatre, 1982, then Provincetown Playhouse, New York City, 1982, later London, 1985, then Atlantic Theatre Company, New York City, 1996, published by Grove Press, 1983, and in collections.

The Disappearance of the Jews (one–act), Goodman Theatre, 1983, published in collections.

The Dog, produced in 1983, published in collections.

Film Crew, produced in 1983, published in collections.

4 A.M., produced in 1983, published in collections.

Prologue: American Twilight, produced in 1983, published by Dramatists Play Service.

(Adaptor) Pierre Laville, Red River, Goodman Theatre, 1983.

"Two Conversations,""Two Scenes," and "Yes, but So What," produced in Five Unrelated Pieces, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1983, published in collections.

Glengarry Glen Ross (two–act), National Theatre, London, 1983, then Goodman Theatre, 1984, later John Golden Theatre, New York City, 1984–1985, published by Grove Press, 1984, and in collections.

"Conversations with the Spirit World,""Deer Dogs," "Dowsing," and "Pint's a Pound the World Around," in Vermont Sketches, produced in New York City, 1984, published in collections.

Mamet, produced in 1984.

The Frog Prince (for children), produced in Louisville, KY, 1984, then in Marathon '85, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1985, published in collections.

Columbus Avenue, produced in 1985, published in collections.

Food, produced in 1985, published in collections.

In the Mall, produced in 1985, published in collections.

Maple Sugaring, produced in 1985, published in collections.

Morris and Joe, produced in 1985, published in collections.

The Power Outage, produced in 1985, published in collections.

The Spanish Prisoner, New Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, 1985.

"Vint" (one–act; based on a story by Anton Chekhov) in Orchards, produced in Urbana, IL, 1985, then Acting Company, New York City, 1985, and Lucille Lortel Theatre, 1986, published in Orchards, Grove Press, 1986.

The Shawl (one–act), New Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, 1985, then Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, 1985, produced in a double–bill with Prairie du Chien, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, New York City, 1985–1986, produced in London, 1986, published with Prairie du Chien, Grove Press, 1985, and in collections.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard, New Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, 1985, published by Grove Press, 1987.

"Where Were You When It Went Down?" in Urban Blight (musical revue), music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I, City Center Theatre, New York City, 1988.

Speed–the–Plow, Royale Theatre, New York City, 1988, later produced at the Richmond Theatre, Surrey, England, 2000, published by Grove Press, 1988, and in collections.

"Bobby Gould in Hell" in Oh, Hell, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, 1989, then London, 1991.

Goldberg Street, produced in 1990, published as Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues, Grove Press, 1989.

(Adaptor and editor) Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, produced at Goodman Theatre, 1990, published by Grove Press, 1989.

Bradford, produced in 1990, published in collections.

The Museum of Science and Industry Story, produced in 1990, published in collections.

A Waitress in Yellowstone, produced in 1990, published in collections.

A Wasted Weekend, produced in 1990, published in collections.

We Will Take You There, produced in 1990, published in collections.

(With Amlin Gray and Romulus Linney) An Evening of Mamet, Gray, and Linney, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Stiemke Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, 1991–1992.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters, Atlantic Theatre, 1991, published as The Three Sisters: A Play, Samuel French, 1992.

Oleanna, American Repertory Theatre, Hasty Pudding Theatre, Cambridge, MA, 1991–1992, then Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1992–1994, later London, 1993, also other productions, published by Pantheon, 1992, and Dramatists Play Service, 1993.

The Old Neighborhood (includes The Disappearance of the Jews, Jolly, and Deeny), produced in 1991, later by American Repertory Theatre, Booth Theatre, 1997–1998, later Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London, published as The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays, Vintage, 1998.

"A Speech for Michael Dukakis" in Vox Pop, Atlantic Theatre Company, 1992.

The Cryptogram, produced in London, 1994, later C. Walsh Theatre, Boston, MA, 1995, then Westside Arts Theatre Upstairs, New York City, 1995, published by Dramatists Play Service, 1995, and by Vintage, 1995.

"An Interview" (one–act) in Death–Defying Acts, Rich Forum, Stamford, CT, then Variety Arts Theatre, New York City, both 1995.

Boston Marriage, American Repertory Theatre, Hasty Pudding Theatre, 1999, then Donmar Warehouse Theatre and New Ambassador's Theatre, both London, 2001.

Dr. Faustus, Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 2004.

Additional plays and shorter dramatic pieces include Almost Done, Businessmen, Cold, Doctor, Dodge, Epilogue, Fish, The Hat, The Joke Code, L.A. Sketches, No One Will Be Immune, A Perfect Mermaid, A Scene: Australia, Steve McQueen, Sunday Afternoon, and Two Enthusiasts, all published by Dramatists Play Service; other plays include The Luftenmensch. Mamet's plays have also been widely produced in regional and repertory theatres throughout the United States and abroad.

Play Collections:

American Buffalo, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Duck Variations: Three Plays, Eyre Methuen, 1978.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations: Two Plays, Grove Press, 1978.

The Water Engine: An American Fable and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, Grove Press, 1978.

Reunion and Dark Pony: Two Plays, Grove Press, 1979.

Short Plays and Monologues (includes All Men Are Whores: An Inquiry, The Blue Hour: City Sketches, In Old Vermont, Litko, Prairie du Chien, A Sermon, and Shoeshine), Dramatists Play Service, 1981.

Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French, 1982.

A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues (includes Columbus Avenue, the radio play Cross Patch, The Dog, Film Crew, Five Unrelated Pieces, Food, 4 A.M., the radio play Goldberg Street, In the Mall, Maple Sugaring, Morris and Joe, The Power Outage, Steve McQueen, Two Conversations, Two Scenes, Vermont Sketches, and Yes, but So What), Samuel French, 1985.

Three Children's Plays (contains The Frog Prince, The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15, and The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two–Speed Clock), Grove Press, 1986.

The Woods, Lakeboat, Edmond, Grove Press, 1987.

Five Television Plays: A Waitress in Yellowstone; Bradford; The Museum of Science and Industry Story; A Wasted Weekend; and We Will Take You There, Grove Press, 1990.

A Life with No Joy in It, and Other Plays and Pieces, Dramatists Play Service, 1994.

No One Will Be Immune and Other Plays and Pieces, Dramatists Play Service, 1994.

Plays: One (includes American Buffalo, Chronology, Duck Variations, Mr. Happiness, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Squirrels, and The Water Engine), Methuen, 1994.

Plays: Two (includes Dark Pony, Edmond, A Life in the Theatre, Lakeboat, and Reunion), Methuen, 1996.

Plays: Three (includes Glengarry Glen Ross, Prairie du Chien, The Shawl, and Speed–the–Plow), Methuen, 1996.

The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays (contains Deeny, The Disappearance of the Jews, and Jolly), Vintage, 1998.

Contributor of plays to books, including The Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon '84, Broadway Play, 1985.

Screenplays:

The Postman Always Rings Twice (based on the novel by James M. Cain), Paramount, 1981.

The Verdict (based on the novel by Barry Reed), Columbia, 1982.

(Uncredited) About Last Night (based on his play Sexual Perversity in Chicago), TriStar, 1986.

(And story) House of Games, Orion, 1987, published by Grove Press, 1987.

The Untouchables (based on the television series of the same name), Paramount, 1987.

(With Shel Silverstein) Things Change, Columbia, 1988, published by Grove Press, 1988.

We're No Angels (based on an earlier film of the same name), Paramount, 1989, published by Grove Press, 1990.

Homicide, Columbia, 1991, published by Grove Press, 1992.

Glengarry Glen Ross (based on his stage play), New Line Cinema, 1992.

Hoffa, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

(Uncredited) Additional dialogue, Rising Sun, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.

Oleanna (based on his stage play), Samuel Goldwyn, 1994.

Vanya on 42nd Street (based on the play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov), Sony Pictures Classics, 1994.

American Buffalo (based on his stage play), Samuel Goldwyn, 1996.

(As Richard Weisz) The Edge, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1997.

(With Hilary Henkin) Wag the Dog (based on the novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart), New Line Cinema, 1997.

(With others) Author of rewrite, Lolita (based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov), Samuel Goldwyn, 1997.

The Spanish Prisoner (based on his stage play), Sony Pictures Classics, 1997, published with The Winslow Boy, Vintage Books, 1999.

(As Weisz) Ronin, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1998.

The Winslow Boy (based on the play by Terence Rattigan), Sony Pictures Classics, 1999, published with The Spanish Prisoner, Vintage Books, 1999.

State and Main (also known as Sequences et consequences), Fine Line, 2000.

Hannibal (based on the novel by Thomas Harris), MCA/Universal, 2001.

Heist (also known as Le vol), Warner Bros., 2001.

Lakeboat (based on his stage play), Cowboy Booking International/Oregon Trail Films, 2001.

Spartan, Warner Bros., 2004.

Whistle (based on the novel by James Jones), 2005.

Teleplays; Movies:

"The Water Engine" (based on his stage play), TNT Screenworks, TNT, 1992.

Lansky, HBO, 1999.

Teleplays; Specials:

"A Life in the Theatre" (based on his stage play), Great Performances, PBS, 1979.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekhov, "Uncle Vanya," Great Performances, PBS, 1991.

A Life in the Theatre (based on his stage play), TNT, 1993.

(With others) The 74th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2002.

Teleplays; Episodic:

"A Wasted Weekend," Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1987.

"Texan," Directed By, Showtime, 1994.

Also wrote episodes of L.A. Law, NBC.

Radio Scripts; Specials:

Prairie du Chien, National Public Radio, 1978.

"The Water Engine: An American Fable" (two–act play), Earplay, National Public Radio, 1978.

Cross Patch, WNUR–Radio, 1985, later produced on stage, New York City, 1990, published in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French, 1985.

Goldberg Street, WNUR–Radio, 1985, later produced on stage, New York City, 1990, published in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French, 1985.

Dintenfass, 1989, published by Dramatists Play Service.

Novels:

The Village, Little, Brown, 1994.

The Old Religion: A Novel, Free Press, 1997.

Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, Faber & Faber, 2000.

Essays:

Writing in Restaurants (essays, speeches, and articles), Viking, 1986.

Some Freaks, Viking, 1989.

On Directing Film, Viking Penguin, 1992.

A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays (includes "The Cabin: Reminiscences and Diversions,""On Directing Film,""Some Freaks," and "Writing in Restaurants"), Faber & Faber, 1994.

Make–Believe Town: Essays and Remembrances, Little, Brown, 1996.

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, Pantheon, 1997.

Jafsie and John Henry: Essays, Free Press, 1999.

Writings for Children:

Warm and Cold, illustrated by Donald Sultan, Solo Press, 1984.

(With Lindsay Crouse) The Owl, Kipling Press, 1987.

Passover, illustrated by Michael McCurdy, St. Martin's Press, 1995.

The Duck and the Goat, illustrated by Maya Kennedy, St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Bar Mitzvah, drawings by Donald Sultan, Little, Brown, 1999.

Henrietta, illustrated by Elizabeth Dahlie, Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Poetry:

The Hero Pony: Poems, Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

The Chinaman: Poems, Overlook Press, 1999.

Songs:

Contributor to Rebecca Pidgeon albums: wrote lyrics for the songs "The Penguin,""Primitive Man,""The Raven," and "Underground"; wrote spoken verse for the song "Auld Lang Syne"; with Rebecca Pidgeon, wrote lyrics for the songs "Heart and Mind,""The Height of Land,""The New York Girls' Club,""Seven Hours," and "You Got Me"; with Shel Silverstein, wrote lyrics and music for the song "The Word around Town"; with Jonathan Katz, wrote the song "This Heart Is Closed for Alterations."

Nonfiction:

(With Donald Sultan and Ricky Jay) Donald Sultan: Playing Cards, edited by Edit deAk, Kyoto Shoin, 1989.

The Cabin: Reminiscences and Diversions, Random House, 1992.

Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, Columbia University Press, 1998.

On Acting, Viking, 1999.

David Mamet in Conversation, edited by Leslie Kane, University of Michigan Press, 2001.

South of the Northeast Kingdom, National Geographic Society, 2002.

(With Lawrence Kushner) Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, Schocken, 2003.

Author of the unpublished work The Jade Mountain. Creator of "Dammit, Mamet!" (cartoon), Boston, beginning 2000. Contributor to books, including Donald Sultan: In the Still–Life Tradition, University of Washington Press, 1999. Contributor of articles, poems, and reviews to periodicals, including Friday Review, G2, Guardian, Harper's, New Yorker, Playboy, and Premiere. Contributing editor, Oui, 1975–1976.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Artists and Authors for Young Adults, Volumes 7–26, Gale, 1992.

Bigsby, C. W. E., David Mamet, Methuen, 1985.

Brewer, Gay, David Mamet and Film: Illusion/Disillusion in a Wounded Land, McFarland & Company, 1993.

Carroll, Dennis, David Mamet, St. Martin's Press, 1987.

Contemporary Dramatists, Sixth edition, St. James Press, 1999.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale, Volume 9, 1978; Volume 15, 1980; Volume 34, 1985; Volume 46, 1988; Volume 91, 1996.

Dean, Anne, David Mamet: Language as Dramatic Action, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1990.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 7: Twentieth–Century American Dramatists, Gale, 1981.

Drama Criticism, Volume 4, Gale, 1994.

Heilpern, John, How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway?: Writings on the Theater and Why It Matters, Routledge, 1999.

Kane, Leslie, David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross: Text and Performance, Garland Publishing, 1996.

Kane, Leslie, editor, David Mamet: A Casebook, Garland Publishing, 1991.

Kane, Leslie, Weasels and Wisemen: Education, Ethics, and Ethnicity in David Mamet, St. Martin's Press, 1999.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals:

America, May 15, 1993, p. 16.

Chicago Tribune, October 11, 1987; May 4, 1988; February 19, 1989; December 10, 1989.

Economist, January 31, 1998, pp. 85–86.

Entertainment Weekly, June 5, 1998, pp. 18–19.

Harper's, May, 1978, pp. 79, 83.

Hollywood Reporter, November 11, 2000.

Interview, April, 1998, p. 66.

Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1979; June 25, 1984; July 7, 1987; October 11, 1987.

Nation, May 19, 1979, p. 581; April 14, 1981; October 10, 1981; April 28, 1984, p. 522; June 27, 1987, p. 900.

New Republic, July 12, 1982, p. 23; February 10, 1986, pp. 25, 28; April 24, 1995, p. 46.

Newsweek, February 28, 1977, p. 79; March 23, 1981; November 8, 1982; December 6, 1982; April 9, 1984, p. 109; October 19, 1987.

New York, December 20, 1982, pp. 62, 64; June 8, 1987, p. 68.

New Yorker, November 10, 1975; October 31, 1977, p. 115; January 16, 1978, October 29, 1979, p. 81; June 15, 1981, November 7, 1983, June 29, 1987, p. 70; April 10, 1995, p. 33; June 3, 1996, pp. 48, 50–56, 58–61; November 17, 1997.

New York Times, July 5, 1976; March 18, 1979; April 26, 1979; May 26, 1979; June 3, 1979; October 19, 1979; March 20, 1981; May 29, 1981; June 5, 1981; February 17, 1982; May 17, 1982; June 17, 1982; October 24, 1982; October 28, 1982, p. C20; December 8, 1982; May 13, 1983; October 9, 1983, pp. 6, 19; November 6, 1983; March 26, 1984, p. C17; March 28, 1984; April 1, 1984; April 18, 1984; April 24, 1984; September 30, 1984; April 21, 1985; February 9, 1986; April 23, 1986; January 1, 1987; March 15, 1987; June 3, 1987; October 11, 1987; May 4, 1988; December 4, 1989.

People Weekly, November 12, 1979; December 20, 1982; May 4, 1987.

Playboy, April, 1995, pp. 51–60, 148–50.

Saturday Review, April 2, 1977, p. 37.

Telegraph Magazine, June 18, 1994, pp. 16–18, 20, 22.

Tikkun, November/December, 1997, p. 10; March/April, 1999, p. 32.

Time, July 12, 1976; April 9, 1984, p. 105.

Times Magazine (Great Britain), January 24, 1998, pp. 14–21, 23.

T2, April 13, 2004, pp. 14–15.

Us, January 10, 1978.

Village Voice, July, 1976, pp. 101, 103.

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Mamet, David

MAMET, David



Writer and director and actor. Nationality: American. Born: Chicago, Illinois, 30 November 1947. Education: Studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, 1968–69; Goddard College, B.A. (English), 1969. Family: Married 1) Lindsay Crouse (an actress), 21 December 1977 (divorced); children: Willa, Zosia; 2) married Rebecca Pidgeon (an actress, singer, and songwriter), 22 September 1991; children: Clara. Career: Worked as a busboy, Second City Theatre, Chicago, a stagehand, Hull House Theatre, Chicago, and as factory worker, real estate agent, window washer, office cleaner, taxi driver, truck driver, short order cook, and salesperson; actor in New England summer theatre productions, 1969; special lecturer in drama, Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont, 1970; artist-in-residence and instructor in drama, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont, 1971–73; founding member and artistic director, St. Nicholas Company, Plainfield, Vermont, 1972; founder (with others), 1973, artistic director, 1973–76, member of the board of directors, beginning in 1973, St. Nicholas Theatre Company, Chicago; faculty member, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, 1974; contributing editor, Oui, 1975–76; visiting lecturer, University of Chicago, Chicago, 1975–76 and 1979; teaching fellow at the School of Drama, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1976–77; associate artistic director, 1978–79, playwright-in-residence, 1978–84, Goodman Theatre, Chicago; visiting lecturer at the Tisch School of the Arts, 1981, founder of the Atlantic Theatre Company, 1988, and chair of the Atlantic Theatre Company board of directors, New York University, New York City; associate director, New Theatre Company, Chicago, beginning in 1985; associate professor of film, Columbia University, New York City, 1988; Dinglefest Theatre, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, founder (with others). Awards: Golden Osella, Venice Film Festival, best original screenplay, and Pasinetti Award, Venice Film Festival, best film, for House of Games, 1987; also winner of numerous theatre and literary awards. Agent: Howard Rosenstone, Rosenstone/Wender, 3 East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.


Films as Writer:

1979

A Life in the Theater (Browning, Gutierrez—for TV)

1981

The Postman Always Rings Twice (Rafelson)

1982

The Verdict (1982)

1986

About Last Night. . . (Zwick) (from his play Sexual Perversity in Chicago)

1987

The Untouchables (De Palma); House of Games (+ d)

1988

Things Change (+ d)

1989

We're No Angels (Jordan)

1991

Uncle Vanya (Mosher—for TV) (translation); Homicide (+ d)

1992

Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley); Hoffa (DeVito) (+ assoc pr); The Water Engine (Schachter—for TV) (+ ro)

1993

Rising Sun (Kaufman) (uncredited); A Life in the Theater (Mosher—for TV) (+ exec pr)

1994

Texan (Williams—for TV); Oleanna (+ d); Vanya on 42nd Street (Malle)

1996

American Buffalo (Corrente)

1997

The Spanish Prisoner (+ d); Wag the Dog (Levinson); The Edge (Tamahori)

1998

Ronin (Frankenheimer) (as Richard Weisz)

1999

Lansky (McNaughton) (for TV) (+ exec pr); The Winslow Boy (+ d)

2000

Lakeboat (Mantegna); Whistle (Lumet); State and Main (+ d)



Films as Actor:

1984

Sanford Meisner: The American Theatre's Best Kept Secret (Doob) (as Himself)

1986

Black Widow (Rafelson) (as Herb)

Publications


By MAMET: books (nonfiction)—

On Directing Film, New York, 1991.

Cabin: Reminiscence and Diversions, New York, 1992.

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

Jafsie and John Henry: Essays, New York, 1999.

On Acting, New York, 1999.


By MAMET: articles—

"I Lost It at the Movies," interview with P. Biskind, in American Film (Farmingdale, New York), vol. 12, no. 8, June 1987.

Interview in Time Out (London), 12 August 1998.

Interview in Sight and Sound (London), vol. 8, no. 10, October 1998.

Interview in Interview (New York), April 1998.

"The Spanish Prisoner" and "Writing and Directing The Spanish Prisoner," in Scenario (Rockville, Maryland), vol. 4, no. 1, 1998.


On MAMET: books—

Bigsby, C. W. E., David Mamet, London, 1985.

Carroll, Dennis, David Mamet, New York, 1987.

Dean, Anne, David Mamet: Language as Dramatic Action, Rutherford, New Jersey, and London, 1990.

Trussler, Simon, Malcolm Page, and Steven Dykes, File on Mamet, New York, 1991.

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

McDonough, Carla J., Staging Masculinity: Male Identity in Contemporary American Drama, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1997.

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


On MAMET: articles—

"David Mamet," in Film Dope (Nottingham), no. 38, December 1987.

Weinberger, M., and others, "Engrenages," in Cinéma 87/88 (Paris), no. 427, 3 February 1988.

Hoberman, J., "Identity Parade," in Sight and Sound (London), vol. 1, no. 7, November 1991.

Brewer, G., "Studied Simplicity," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 20, no. 2, April 1992.

Fisher, Bob, "Minting a Screen Version of American Buffalo," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), vol. 77, no. 2, February 1996.

Hudgins, Christopher, "Lolita 1995: The Four Filmscripts," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), vol. 25, no. 1, January 1997.

Rosenbaum, J., "Mamet and Hitchcock: The Men Who Knew Too Much," in Scenario (Rockville, Maryland), vol. 4, no. 1, 1998.


* * *

From stage playwright to screenwriter is a common enough jump, but relatively few playwrights have gone on to become directors. And none, with the exception of Marcel Pagnol, has done so as successfully as David Mamet. Like Pagnol, Mamet has been able to use his theatrical prestige to resist crass commercial pressures. His films as writer-director are unmistakably personal, made without interference or compromise. The same hasn't always been true of his scripts for other directors, as he readily acknowledges in On Directing Films: "Working as a screenwriter-for-hire, one is in the employ not of the eventual consumers (the audience, whose interests the honest writer must have at heart), but of speculators, whose ambition . . . is not to please the eventual consumer, but to extort from him as much money as possible."

Nonetheless, clear thematic preoccupations run through all his film work, whether as writer or as director. The characters that fascinate him are those on the precarious margins of society: conmen, salesmen and hucksters, cops and petty criminals. He is concerned with the codes these fringe people live by, and those they break. Matters of trust and betrayal, illusion and deception, confidence bestowed and confidence betrayed, loom large in his work. Along with these codes goes the jargon: in his films as in his plays, Mamet is famous for the speed and ferocity of his dialogue, the obsessive, almost ritualistic repetitions of words and phrases. Underlying all this is a despairing sense of the corruption of the American Dream, the busted illusion of the pursuit of happiness that haunts a sour, wounded society. In his own typically eloquent words, "My characters are trapped in the destructive folds of the public myths on my country." His first script was for Bob Rafelson's version of James M. Cain's classic pulp The Postman Always Rings Twice—the definitive portrait of the footloose American go-getter as bum, sexual opportunist, conspirator and killer.

According to Mamet's own account, he "saw the craft of directing as the joyful extension of screenwriting." But he also followed a well-established tradition of eminent writer-directors (Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, Joseph Mankiewicz, et al), in taking up direction partly in order to protect his own writing. His directorial debut, House of Games, followed closely on the travesty of his play Sexual Perversity in Chicago being filmed (not to his script) as About Last Night (1986). In that same writer-director tradition, Mamet tends to be matter-of-fact to the point of dismissiveness about his own cinematic technique, disclaiming any pretensions to being an auteur. The director's job, he maintains, "is the work of constructing the shot list from the screenplay. The work on the set is nothing. All you have to do on the set is stay awake, follow your plans, help the actors be simple, and keep your sense of humour. The film is directed in the making of the shot list. . . . It is the plan that makes the movie."

"The plan" in more senses than one. In Mamet's films—many of those he has directed, and several that he has written—the action is often set up to deceive the audience, a visual sleight of hand paralleling the scam that's being worked on the characters. In House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner (itself named after a classic con routine), the rug is repeatedly pulled out from under us; just as we think we know what is going on, Mamet reveals a further layer of deception. In Homicide we are led to believe that Joe Mantegna's cop is uncovering a vast anti-Semitic conspiracy, until a supposed Nazi slogan proves to be a brand of pigeon-feed and the whole miasma of suspicion dissolves into nothingness. (Or maybe not, since the film leaves it possible that this revelation is itself just another trick.) Sometimes Mamet enjoys letting us in on the act, as in Things Change, or in his tour de force political satire Wag the Dog where—as if in ironic homage to Baudrillard—a whole war is faked up to hoax the public. Though even here, when we have watched the entire scam being devised, the denouement reveals other dimensions that we were not aware of. Referring to The Spanish Prisoner Mamet oberved: "I don't feel like I created this script—I feel like I've solved it. It's like a magic trick. You have to give people information, but in such a way that they don't realise it is information."

Adapting his own stage work for the screen (as in Oleanna, which he directed, or American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross, which he didn't), Mamet simplifies it without losing its pungent flavour, cutting down on the repetitions and truculent non-sequiturs of the original. "You're basically trying to make up pictures and you only resort to dialogue when you can't make up the perfect picture. . . . The main message is being carried to the audience not by what people say or by how they say it, but by what the camera is doing." Not that the camera, in his view, should do very much: he believes in "let[ting] the cut tell the story," and adds that "fantastic cinematography has been the death of American film." He may well have been thinking of The Untouchables, where Brian De Palma's showy direction jarred with Mamet's taut dialogue. Despite his own outspoken distaste for Hollywood ("Hell with valet parking") and the movie industry, Mamet seems increasingly at ease with filmmaking. In recent years he has shown himself ever more inclined to direct his own scripts—and to adapt and direct the work of other playwrights he admires, such as Terence Rattigan and Samuel Beckett. In the register of Mamet's career his status as screenwriter and director may never rival his towering acclaim as a playwright, but it looks set to run it a very respectable second.

—Philip Kemp

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Mamet, David

David Mamet

Born: November 30, 1947
Chicago, Illinois

American writer, playwright/dramatist, screenwriter, and director/producer

Playwright, screenwriter (a person who writes scripts for movies), and director David Mamet is known for his accurate use of American vernacular (the normal spoken form of a language), through which he explores the relationship between language and behavior.

Taught to love words

David Alan Mamet was born in Chicago, Illinois, on November 30, 1947, the only son of Bernard and Leonore Mamet (they also had a younger daughter). His father was a labor lawyer who loved to argue and taught his children how to listen, question things, and express themselves as precisely as possible. Mamet spent many afternoons in his father's office, making phone calls and typing letters on the typewriter. Mamet's parents' high standards and their divorce when he was eleven made his childhood an unhappy one. He was very close to his sister, however. At fifteen he started working at the Hull House Theatre and discovered his life's direction. He went on to study literature and theater at Goddard College in Vermont (receiving a bachelor's degree in 1969) and acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York.

Successful plays

In 1971 Mamet began teaching drama at Goddard and wrote several plays. His first play to receive attention, The Duck Variations (1972), displays features found in much of his work: a fixed setting, few characters, a simple plot, and dialogue that captures the rhythms of everyday speech. Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974) (later adapted for film as About Last Night. ) examines relationships between men and women. American Buffalo (1975), for which Mamet received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, is set in a junk shop and deals with the efforts of three men trying to steal a valuable coin. The main character of The Water Engine: An American Fable (1977) creates a new engine but is murdered when he refuses to sell his invention for profit. Other plays from this period include A Life in the Theatre, The Woods, Reunion, and Dark Pony (all 1977), as well as The Sanctity of Marriage (1979).

Glengarry Glen Ross (1982), Mamet's most praised work, is the story of four Florida real estate agents competing to become their company's top salesperson by trying to cheat unsuspecting customers. The play was awarded both the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize in drama. Edmond (1982) involves a businessman who leaves his wife and wanders into a run-down area of New York City. After being beaten and robbed, he turns to violence and is imprisoned for murdering a waitress. Prairie du chien (1985) and The Shawl (1985) are companion pieces. The first play centers on an unusual murder, while the second concerns a psychic's efforts to obtain a client's inheritance. Speed-the-Plow (1988), in which pop singer Madonna (1958) made her first performance on Broadway, is the story of a close male friendship that is threatened by the arrival of a strange woman.

Screenplays and other works

Mamet has also written several screenplays (scripts for movies). The first, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), is generally considered his least successful effort. In The Verdict (1982), based on Barry Reed's novel Verdict (1980), an alcoholic lawyer battles injustice to win a lawsuit for a woman who suffered brain damage during childbirth. Reviewers praised Mamet's dialogue, and the screenplay was nominated (put forward for consideration) for an Academy Award. He also made his first effort at directing with the 1987 film House of Games (for which he also wrote the screenplay), about a doctor's involvement with a con man.

In the latter half of the 1980s Mamet published two collections of essays, Writing in Restaurants and Some Freaks. Both books are packed with Mamet's opinions on a variety of topics such as friendship, religion, politics, morals, society, and of course, the American theater. Mamet has also taught at The Yale Drama School and New York University. He often lectures to classes at the Atlantic Theater Company, and he was one of the company's founding members.

Later efforts

Mamet continues to direct films and write plays, essays, and screenplays. His recent film works include the 1994 film version of his play Oleanna (which was first produced on stage in 1992), The Winslow Boy (1999), State and Main (2000), and Heist (2001). In 1999 he wrote a book of essays, Jafsie and John Henry. Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, a novel, was released in 2001. Mamet married actress Rebecca Pidgeon in 1991. They have two children. He also has two children from his first marriage to actress Lindsay Crouse.

For More Information

Bigsby, C. W. E. David Mamet. London: Methuen, 1985.

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

Heilpern, John. How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway? New York: Routledge, 2000.

King, Kimball. Ten Modern American Playwrights. New York: Garland, 1982.

Mamet, David. On Directing Film. New York: Viking, 1991.

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Mamet, David

David Mamet (mămĕt´), 1947–, American playwright and film director, b. Chicago. He taught drama (and produced some of his early plays) at Goddard College. His work, often dealing with the success and failure of the American dream, is noted for its sharp, spare, compressed, often profane, and insightful dialogue. He came to public attention with such plays as Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1974) and American Buffalo (1975), later achieving widespread success with the corrosively brilliant Glengarry Glen Ross (1983; Pulitzer Prize) and Oleanna (1992), a scathing look at sexual politics. He also has written screenplays for The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Hoffa (1992), the film version of Glengarry (1992), and many other films. In 1987, Mamet made his debut as a film director with House of Games, a complex story about deception and gullibility; he has since written and directed several films, including The Spanish Prisoner (1997), Heist (2001), and Spartan (2004). Mamet has also written, directed, or produced several television films. His first television series, The Unit, a network military drama, aired from 2006 to 2009.

By the beginning of the 21st cent. Mamet was widely regarded as one of the finest American writers for stage and screen. Some of his later plays, such as The Cryptogram (1995) and The Old Neighborhood (1997), have explored difficult semiautobiographical material. Mamet also ventured into satire with November, a play about contemporary presidential politics that was produced on Broadway in 2008, and he explored the nature of guilt and shame as they relate to racial, sexual, and legal issues in Race, which debuted on Broadway the following year. Throughout his career, Mamet has treated the themes of belonging, the vagaries of authority, the pivotal role played by loyalty, and the importance of speaking the truth. In addition to more than 20 plays and some two dozen screenplays, he has also written novels, e.g., The Village (1994), several collections of essays (including the autobiographical Jafsie and John Henry, 1999, and Bambi vs. Godzilla, 2007, on the film industry), a book on acting (1997), The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews (2006), and The Secret Knowledge (2011), an explanation of his conversion to conservative politics.

See biography by I. Nadel (2008); L. Kane, ed., David Mamet in Conversation (2001); studies by D. Carroll (1987), A. Dean (1990), N. Jones and S. Dykes (1991), L. Kane, ed. (1992) and as author (1999, 2004), G. Brewer (1993), C. C. Hudgins and L. Kane, ed. (2001), D. K. and J. A. Sauer (2003), H. Bloom, ed. (2004), and B. Barton (2005): C. Bigsby, ed., The Cambridge Companion to David Mamet (2004).

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Mamet, David

Mamet, David (1947– ) US playwright and film director. Mamet is noted for his sharp, perceptive dialogue. His play Glengarry Glen Ross (1983) won a Pulitzer Prize. Screenplays include The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). His directorial debut was House of Games (1987). Other plays include Oleanna (1992), a controversial play about sexual harassment.

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Mamet, David

MAMET, DAVID

MAMET, DAVID (1947– ), U.S. playwright. Born in Chicago, Mamet received a B.A. from Goddard College in 1969 and taught playwriting there for a brief period. He started his theatrical career as an actor and director before his own plays were ever produced. He began writing for the stage in 1971 with The Duck Variations. In 1973, Mamet founded, along with three friends, his own theater company in Chicago (St. Nicholas) and remained its artistic director through 1975.

A primary theme running throughout his work is the question of whether moral people can exist in an excessively immoral world. The environment he depicts is often devoid of any emotion and spirituality, and morality, if it exists, is on the decline. The strong male characters for which Mamet is known find it difficult to survive let alone thrive in such a world. In fact, the characters that do thrive are typically devoid of morality as well. His dialogue is often a stylized, almost poetic, version of the streetwise speech found in noir films and novels.

Mamet's plays include Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1973), Reunion (1973), Squirrels (1974), American Buffalo (1976), A Life in the Theater (1976), The Water Engine (1976), The Woods (1977), Lone Canoe (1978), Prairie du Chien (1978), Lakeboat (1980), Donny March (1981), Edmond (1982), The Disappearance of the Jews (1983), Glengarry Glen Ross (1984), and Speed the Plow (1988), which received the Tony Award for Best Play of the Year, Oleanna (1993), The Cryptogram (1995), and The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays (1998).

Mamet received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for American Buffalo (1977) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1984), for which he was also the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The play depicts desperate salesmen and the extreme measures, from ethically questionable to positively illegal, to which they resort to sell undesirable units of real estate. Mamet has also written screenplays, among them The Postman Always Rings Twice (1979), The Verdict (1980), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay Adaptation, The Untouchables (1987), House of Games (1987, also directed), Things Change (1988, also directed), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, an adaptation of his play), Hoffa (1992), The Spanish Prisoner (1997, also directed), Wag the Dog (1997, adapted from Larry Beinhart's novel American Hero), State and Main (2000, also directed), and The Heist (2001, also directed).

The prolific author has also written novels, including The Old Religion: A Novel (1997), Bar Mitzvah (1999), and Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources (2001); children's books including Passover (1995) and The Duck and the Goat (1996); and nonfiction including Writing in Restaurants (1987), Some Freaks (1989), The Cabin: Reminiscence and Diversions (1992), and Three Uses for a Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama (1998).

add. bibliography:

C. Bigsby (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to David Mamet (2004); L. Kane, Weasels and Wisemen: Ethics and Ethnicity in the Work of David Mamet (1999).

[Jonathan Licht /

Robert L. Del Bane (2nd ed.)]

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Mamet, David

David Mamet





Personal


Surname is pronounced "Mam-et"; born November 30, 1947, in Chicago, IL; son of Bernard Morris (an attorney) and Lenore June (a teacher; maiden name, Silver) Mamet; married Lindsay Crouse (an actress), December 21, 1977 (divorced); married Rebecca Pidgeon (an actress), 1991; children: (first marriage) Willa, Zosia; (second marriage) Clara, Noah. Education: Attended Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater, 1968-69; Goddard College, B.A., 1969. Politics: "The last refuge of the unimaginative." Religion: "The second-to-last."



Addresses


Home—Boston, MA, and VT. Agent—Howard Rosenstone, Rosenstone/Wender, 3 East 48th St., New York, NY 10017.



Career

Playwright, screenwriter, director, and producer. St. Nicholas Theater Company, Chicago, IL, founder, 1973, artistic director, 1973-76, member of board of directors, beginning 1973; Goodman Theater, Chicago, associate artistic director, 1978-79. Producer of motion pictures, including Lip Service, 1988, Hoffa, 1992, and A Life in the Theater, 1993. Actor in motion pictures, including Black Widow, 1986, and The Water Engine, 1992. Director of motion pictures, including House of Games, 1987, Things Change, 1988, The Spanish Prisoner, 1997, The Winslow Boy, 1999, State and Main, 2000, Catastrophe, 2001, Heist, 2001, and Spartan, 2004. Special lecturer in drama, Marlboro College, 1970; artist-in-residence in drama, Goddard College, 1971-73; faculty member, Illinois Arts Council, 1974; visiting lecturer in drama, University of Chicago, 1975-76 and 1979; teaching fellow, School of Drama, Yale University, 1976-77; guest lecturer, New York University, 1981; associate professor of film, Columbia University, 1988. Has also worked in a canning plant, a truck factory, at a real estate agency, and as a window washer, office cleaner, and taxi driver.


Member

Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America, Actors Equity Association, PEN, United Steelworkers of America, Randolph A. Hollister Association, Atlantic Theater Company (chair of the board).


Awards, Honors

Joseph Jefferson Award, 1975, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and 1976, for American Buffalo; Obie Awards, Village Voice, for best new American play, 1976, forSexual Perversity in Chicago and American Buffalo, for best American play, 1983, for Edmond, and for best play, 1995, for The Cryptogram; Children's Theater grant, New York State Council on the Arts, 1976; Rockefeller grant, 1976; Columbia Broadcasting System fellowship in creative writing, 1976; New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best American play, 1977, for American Buffalo, and 1984, for Glengarry Glen Ross; Outer Critics Circle Award, 1978, for contributions to the American theater; Academy Award ("Oscar") nomination for best adapted screenplay, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1983, for The Verdict, and 1997, for Wag the Dog; Society for West End Theatre Award, 1983; Writers Guild Award nomination for best screenplay based on material from another medium, 1983, for The Verdict, 1988, for The Untouchables, 1993, for Glengarry Glen Ross, and 1998, for Wag the Dog; Pulitzer Prize for drama, Joseph Dintenfass Award, Elizabeth Hull-Warriner Award, Dramatists Guild, Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award nomination, American Theater Wing, for best play, all 1984, all for Glengarry Glen Ross, Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award nomination for best reproduction of a play, 1984, for American Buffalo; American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, 1986; Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award for best play, 1988, for Speed-the-Plow; ALFS Award, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Screenwriter of the Year, 1987, for House of Games, and 1991, for Homicide; Golden Globe Award nomination for best screenplay, 1988, for House of Games; nominated, Best Screenplay, Independent Spirit Award, 1999, for The Spanish Prisoner; nominated, Best Screenplay, BAFTA, 1999, for Wag the Dog; nominated, Best Screenplay, Golden Satellite Awards, 2001, for State and Main.



Writings


PLAYS


Lakeboat (one-act; produced in Marlboro, VT, 1970; revised version produced in Milwaukee, WI, 1980), Grove (New York, NY), 1981.

Duck Variations (one-act; produced in Plainfield, VT, 1972; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1975), published in Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago (one-act; produced in Chicago, 1974; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1975), published in Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Squirrels (one-act), produced in Chicago, 1974.

The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to8:15, produced in Chicago, 1974, published in Three Children's Plays, 1986.

American Buffalo (two-act; produced in Chicago, 1975; produced on Broadway, 1977), Grove (New York, NY), 1977.

Reunion (one-act; produced with Sexual Perversity inChicago, Louisville, KY, 1976; produced Off-Broadway with Dark Pony and The Sanctity of Marriage, 1979), published with Dark Pony in Reunion and Dark Pony: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1979, also published with Dark Pony and The Sanctity of Marriage in Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1982.

Dark Pony (one-act; produced with Reunion, New Haven, CT, 1977; produced Off-Broadway with Reunion and The Sanctity of Marriage, 1979), published with Reunion in Reunion and Dark Pony: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1979, also published with Reunion and The Sanctity of Marriage in Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1982.

All Men Are Whores (produced in New Haven, CT, 1977), published in Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

A Life in the Theatre (one-act; produced in Chicago, IL, 1977; produced Off-Broadway, 1977), Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two Speed-Clock (produced in Queens, NY, 1977), Sergel, 1978.

(And director) The Woods (two-act; produced in Chicago, IL, 1977; produced Off-Broadway, 1979), Grove (New York, NY), 1979.

The Water Engine: An American Fable (two-act; produced as a radio play on the program Earplay, Minnesota Public Radio, 1977; stage adaptation produced in Chicago, 1977; produced Off-Broadway, 1977), published with Mr. Happiness in The Water Engine: An American Fable and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Mr. Happiness (produced with The Water Engine, on Broadway, 1978), published with The Water Engine: An American Fable in The Water Engine: An American Fable and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Lone Canoe; or, The Explorer (musical), music and lyrics by Alaric Jans, produced in Chicago, IL, 1979.

The Sanctity of Marriage (one-act; produced Off-Broadway with Reunion and Dark Pony, 1979), published in Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1982.

Shoeshine (one-act; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1979), published in Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

A Sermon (one-act), produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1981.

Donny March, produced 1981.

Litko (produced in New York City, 1984), published in Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

Edmond (produced in Chicago, 1982; produced Off-Broadway, 1982), Grove (New York, NY), 1983.

The Disappearance of the Jews (one-act), produced in Chicago, 1983.

The Dog, produced 1983.

Film Crew, produced 1983.

4 A.M., produced 1983.

Glengarry Glen Ross (two-act; produced on the West End, 1983; produced on Broadway, 1984), Grove (New York, NY), 1984.

Five Unrelated Pieces (produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1983; includes Two Conversations, Two Scenes, and Yes, but so What), published in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.

Vermont Sketches (contains Pint's a Pound the WorldAround, Deer Dogs, Conversations with the Spirit World and Dowsing; produced in New York, NY, 1984), published in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.

The Shawl [and] Prairie du Chien (one-acts; produced together at the Lincoln Center, 1985), Grove (New York, NY), 1985.

A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.

Vint (one-act; based on Anton Chekhov's short story; produced in New York City with six other one-act plays based on Chekhov's short works, under the collective title Orchards, 1985), published in Orchards, Grove (New York, NY), 1986.

(Adapter) Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard (produced at Goodman Theatre, 1985), Grove (New York, NY), 1987.

Three Children's Plays (includes The Poet and the Rent:A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15, The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two Speed-Clock, and The Frog Prince), Grove (New York, NY), 1986.

The Woods, Lakeboat, Edmond, Grove (New York, NY), 1987.

Speed-the-Plow (produced on Broadway, 1988), Grove (New York, NY), 1988.

Where Were You When It Went Down?, produced in New York, NY, 1988.

(Adapter and editor) Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, Grove (New York, NY), 1989.

Goldberg Street (short plays and monologues), Grove (New York, NY), 1989.

Bobby Gould in Hell, produced with The Devil andBilly Markham by Shel Silverstein, New York City, 1989.

Five Television Plays: A Waitress in Yellowstone; Bradford; The Museum of Science and Industry Story; A Wasted Weekend; We Will Take You There, Grove (New York, NY), 1990.

Oleanna (also see below; produced, 1991), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1992, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1993.

(Adapter) Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters: A Play, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1992.

A Life with No Joy in It, and Other Plays and Pieces (contains Almost Done, Monologue, Two Enthusiasts, Sunday Afternoon, The Joke Code, A Scene, Fish, A Perfect Mermaid, Dodge, L.A. Sketches, A Life with No Joy in It, Joseph Dintenfass, and No One Will Be Immune), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1994.

Plays—One (collection; includes Duck Variations,Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Squirrels, American Buffalo, The Water Engine, and Mr. Happiness), Methuen (New York, NY), 1994.

(And director) The Cryptogram (also see below; produced in London, England, 1994; produced Off-Broadway, 1995), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1995, Vintage (New York, NY), 1995.

The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays (also see below; includes The Disappearance of the Jews, Jolly, and Deeny), Vintage (New York, NY), 1998.

Boston Marriage (first produced at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, 1999; also produced at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NY, 2002), Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

David Mamet Plays: 4 (contains The Cryptogram, Oleanna, and The Old Neighborhood), Methuen (New York, NY), 2002.

(Adapter) Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus: A Play, (produced at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco, 2004), published as Faustus, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 2004.


Also author of No One Will Be Immune and Other Plays and Pieces, and Oh Hell.



SCREENPLAYS


The Postman Always Rings Twice (adaptation of the novel by James M. Cain), Paramount, 1981.

The Verdict (adaptation of the novel by Barry Reed), Columbia, 1982.

(And director) House of Games (based on a story by Mamet; produced by Orion Pictures, 1987), Grove (New York, NY), 1987.

The Untouchables (based on the television series), Paramount, 1987.

(With Shel Silverstein; and director) Things Change (produced by Columbia Pictures, 1988), Grove (New York, NY), 1988.

We're No Angels (adaptation of the 1955 film of the same name; produced by Paramount, 1989), Grove (New York, NY), 1990.

(And director) Homicide (produced by Columbia, 1991), Grove (New York, NY), 1992.

Glengarry Glen Ross (based on Mamet's play of the same title), New Line Cinema, 1992.

The Water Engine (teleplay; based on Mamet's play of the same title), Amblin Television, 1992.

Hoffa, 20th-Century Fox, 1992.

Texan (film short), Chanticleer Films, 1994.

(And director) Oleanna (based on Mamet's play of the same title), Samuel Goldwyn, 1994.

Vanya on 42nd Street (adapted from the play UncleVanya by Anton Chekhov), Film Four International, 1994.

American Buffalo (based on Mamet's play of the same title), Samuel Goldwyn, 1996.

(And director) The Spanish Prisoner, Sweetland Films, 1997.

The Edge, 20th-Century Fox, 1997.

Wag the Dog (based on the novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart), New Line Cinema, 1997.

(Under pseudonym Richard Weisz, with J. D. Zeik) Ronin, MGM, 1998.

Lansky (teleplay; based partly on the book MeyerLansky: Mogul of the Mob by Uri Dan), HBO, 1999.

(And director) State and Main, Fine Line Pictures, 2000.

Lakeboat, Oregon Trail Films, 2000.

(And director) The Winslow Boy (based on the play by Terrence Rattigan), Sony, 2001.

(And director) Heist, Morgan Creek Productions, 2001.

(With Steven Zaillian) Hannibal (adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris), MGM, 2001.

(And director) Spartan, Warner Bros., 2004.


Also author of the teleplay A Life in the Theater, based on Mamet's play of the same title.



NOVELS


The Village, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.

The Old Religion: A Novel (historical fiction), Free Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Bar Mitzvah, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.

The Chinaman, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 1999.

Henrietta, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1999.

The Spanish Prisoner; and, The Winslow Boy, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, Overlook (Woodstock, NY), 2001.



OTHER


Warm and Cold (children's picturebook), illustrations by Donald Sultan, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1984.

(With wife, Lindsay Crouse) The Owl (children's book), Kipling Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Writing in Restaurants (essays, speeches, and articles), Penguin (New York, NY), 1987.

Some Freaks (essays), Viking (New York, NY), 1989.

(With Donald Sultan and Ricky Jay) Donald Sultan:Playing Cards, edited by Edit deAk, Kyoto Shoin (Kyoto, Japan), 1989.

The Hero Pony: Poems, Grove Weidenfeld (New York, NY), 1990.

On Directing Film, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

The Cabin: Reminiscence and Diversions, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.

A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays (includes Writing in Restaurants, Some Freaks, On Directing Film, and The Cabin), Faber (New York, NY), 1994.

Passover (children's picturebook), illustrated by Michael McCurdy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Duck and the Goat (children's picturebook), illustrated by Maya Kennedy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Make-Believe Town: Essays and Remembrances, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor (essays), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1997.

3 Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama (part of the "Columbia Lectures on American Culture" series), Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

Jafsie and John Henry, Free Press (New York, NY), 1999.

On Acting, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.

David Mamet in Conversation, edited by Leslie Kane, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2001.

South of the Northeast Kingdom, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2002.

(With Lawrence Kushner) Five Cities of Refuge:Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 2003.


Also author of episodes of Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1987, and L.A. Law, NBC. Contributing editor, Oui, 1975-76.

Adaptations


The film About Last Night . . . , released by Tri-Star Pictures in 1986, was based on Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago.




Work in Progress


Screenplays for the movies Whistle and Joan of Bark: The Dog That Saved France.




Sidelights


David Mamet is a busy man. Author of over one hundred stage plays, screenplays, novels, essay collections, memoirs, theatrical how-to books, and children's books, Mamet also directs in the theater and for film. He has won numerous Tony Awards for his stage productions, a Pulitzer Prize, and has garnered Academy Award nominations for his screenplays. As a contributor for About.com noted, "Mamet proves himself a master of every genre he tries." Talent breeds celebrity. He is, according to Jenelle Riley, writing in Back Stage West, "an artist whose name is so revered he need only be referred to by his last name. . . . And anyone who knows or values the written word is aware of [Mamet's] impact on the entertainment medium in the last 30 years." Mamet has acquired a great deal of critical recognition for his plays, each one a microcosmic view of the American experience. "He's that rarity, a pure writer," noted Jack Kroll in Newsweek, "and the synthesis he appears to be making, with echoes from voices as diverse as Beckett, Pinter, and Hemingway, is unique and exciting." Since 1976, Mamet's plays have been widely produced in regional theaters and in New York City. One of Mamet's most successful plays, Glengarry Glen Ross, earned the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best American play and the Pulitzer Prize in drama, both in 1984. Critics have also praised Mamet's screen-writing; he received Academy Award nominations for best adapted screenplay for The Verdict in 1983, and for Wag the Dog in 1998.


Mamet "has carved out a career as one of America's most creative playwrights," observed Mel Gussow in the New York Times, "with a particular affinity for working-class characters." These characters and their language give Mamet's work its distinct flavor. Mamet is, according to Kroll, "that rare bird, an American playwright who's a language playwright." "Playwriting is simply showing how words influence actions and vice versa," Mamet explained to People contributor Linda Witt. "All my plays attempt to bring out the poetry in the plain, everyday language people use. That's the only way to put art back into the theater." Mamet has been accused of eavesdropping, simply recording the insignificant conversations of which everyone is aware; yet, many reviewers recognize the playwright's artistic intent. Jean M. White commented in the Washington Post that "Mamet has an ear for vernacular speech and uses cliche with telling effect." Furthermore, added Kroll, "Mamet is the first playwright to create a formal and moral shape out of the undeleted expletives of our foul-mouthed time."

Making a Life in the Theater


In his personal and creative life, Mamet has resisted the lure of Broadway, its establishment, and its formulas for success. He was born and raised in Chicago where his father was a labor lawyer. Though he no longer lives there, many of the values that still define him were formed in that city. "I came from a very bourgeois background," Mamet told a contributor for the Village Voice in an interview. "But in Chicago I was always exposed to a wider variety of lives. Summer jobs, the steel mills, factories, that sort of thing." Mamet grew up in a Jewish neighborhood on Chicago's south side. His lawyer father aided his son's natural ear for language. An amateur semanticist, his father imbued the young Mamet with a sense of the rhythm of language, a skill aided by the piano lessons he took. The divorce of Mamet's parents in 1957 also had an effect on the author's later work. He moved with his mother to the north side of the city into a new development with sanitized model homes. As he told Robert Wahls of the New York Daily News, "I don't see how anyone can escape a stormy adolescence. I think some of my anger, perhaps unconscious, comes out in my plays, in the gut language. But to me men trying to communicate speak that way. And what I use fits my meter." Mamet attended the prestigious Frances Parker School, but was a rebellious student. In high school he became interested in drama, working as a volunteer in a small local theater. He also worked as a busboy for a time at Chicago's famous comedy club, Second City, and through the influence of an uncle he got a television acting job on a morning religious show. The acting bug had bit him hard, and ignoring parental advice to study law, he went to Goddard College in Vermont in 1964. His junior year he spent in New York studying acting. This experience convinced Mamet that he was more of a writer than an actor. Graduating from Goddard in 1969, he bluffed his way into a teaching job in the drama department of Marlboro College by claiming he had written a play. When he was given the job, Mamet had to hurriedly write a play for production at the college. Thus his play Lakeport was born.


Mamet lived the peripatetic life of an itinerant artist-teacher for several years, moving back to Chicago in 1970, where he took various odd jobs, including working in a boiler room, and then back to Goddard College where he taught as artist-in-residence for two years. Returning to Chicago in 1972 he staged Duck Variations at a local experimental theater. In 1974 he and several friends breathed new life into the old St. Nicholas Theater, and it was here that his one-act satire about the single's scene, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, premiered. Soon it made its way to the New York theater world as well. Sexual Perversity in Chicago portrays the failed love affair between a young man and woman, each trying to leave behind a relationship with a homosexual roommate. The dialogue between the lovers and their same-sex roommates reveals how each gender can brutally characterize the other. Yet, "the play itself is not another aspect of the so-called battle of the sexes," observed C. Gerald Fraser in the New York Times. "It concerns the confusion and emptiness of human relationships on a purely physical level." New Yorker reviewer Edith Oliver maintained that "the piece is written with grace," and found it "one of the saddest comedies I can remember." In Duck Variations, two old Jewish men sit on a bench in Chicago looking out on Lake Michigan. Their observation of the nearby ducks leads them into discussions of several topics. "There is a marvelous ring of truth in the meandering, speculative talk of these old men," maintained Oliver, "the comic, obsessive talk of men who spend most of their time alone, nurturing and indulging their preposterous notions." In the conversation of these men, wrote T. E. Kalem in Time, "[Mamet] displays the Pinter trait of wearing word masks to shield feelings and of defying communication in the act of communicating." Duck Variations reveals, according to Oliver, that Mamet is an "original writer, who cherishes words and, on the evidence at hand, cherishes character even more." "What emerges is a vivid sense of [the old men's] friendship, the fear of solitude, the inexorable toll of expiring lives," concluded Kalem.



A National Playwright


Mamet scored his first success with these two short plays, but emerged as a nationally acclaimed playwright with his 1975 two-act, American Buffalo. "America has few comedies in its repertory as ironic or as audacious as American Buffalo," proclaimed John Lahr in the Nation. Set in a junk shop, the play features the shop's owner, an employee, and a friend engaged in plotting a theft; they hope to steal the coin collection of a customer who, earlier in the week, had bought an old nickel at the shop. When the employee fails to tail the mark to his home, the plot falls into disarray and "the play ends in confused weariness," explained Elizabeth Kastor in the Washington Post. Although little takes place, Oliver commented in the New Yorker, "what makes [the play] fascinating are its characters and the sudden spurts of feeling and shifts of mood—the mounting tension under the seemingly aimless surface, which gives the play its momentum."

American Buffalo confirmed Mamet's standing as a language playwright. Reviewing the play in the Nation, Lahr observed, "Mamet's use of the sludge in American language is completely original. He hears panic and poetry in the convoluted syntax of his beleaguered characters." And, even though the language is uncultivated, David Richards contended in the Washington Post, "the dialogue [is] ripe with unsettling resonance." As Frank Rich of the New York Times remarked, "Working with the tiniest imaginable vocabulary . . . Mamet creates a subterranean world with its own nonliterate comic beat, life-and-death struggles, pathos and even affection."


In this play, critics also see Mamet's vision of America, "a restless, rootless, insecure society which has no faith in the peace it seeks or the pleasure it finds," interpreted Lahr. "American Buffalo superbly evokes this anxious and impoverished world." Its characters, though seemingly insignificant, reflect the inhabitants of this world and their way of life. "In these bumbling and inarticulate meatheads," believed Lahr, "Mamet has found a metaphor for the spiritual failure of entrepreneurial capitalism."


Since its first Chicago production in 1975, American Buffalo has been produced in several regional theaters and has had three New York productions. In Mamet's management of the elements of this play, New York Times reviewer Benedict Nightingale highlighted the key to its success: "Its idiom is precise enough to evoke a city, a class, a subculture; it is imprecise enough to allow variation of mood and feeling from production to production." Nightingale added in another article, "Buffalo is as accomplished as anything written for the American stage over . . . the last 20 years."


Mamet turned to the theater itself for the inspiration for his 1976 A Life in the Theater, a play about play-making. Speaking with Jaques le Sourd of the White Plains Reporter Dispatch, Mamet explained thatA Life in the Theater "is a play about actors. Everybody in this country loves the idea of the theater, but everyone is ambivalent about actors and treats them with, at best, a bemuse tolerance. Yet when you stop to and think about it, actors are the only essential element of the theater." Other plays from Mamet's early period include The Water Engine, about an urban inventor, and Reunion, about a father and daughter who have not seen each other in twenty years. It was during production of Reunion that Mamet met his first wife, Lindsay Crouse; they married in 1977.



Tinsel Town


In 1979 Mamet worked for the screen for the first time, adapting his play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago for the feature film, About Last Night. Thereafter he was given another opportunity to write a screenplay for hire. As he told Don Shewey in the New York Times, working on the screenplay for the 1981 film version of James M. Cain's novel The Postman Always Rings Twice was a learning experience. "[Director Bob Rafelson] taught me that the purpose of a screenplay is to tell the story so the audience wants to know what happens next," Mamet maintained, "and to tell it in pictures." He elaborated, "I always thought I had a talent for dialogue and not for plot, but it's a skill that can be learned. Writing for the movies is teaching me not to be so scared about plots." Mamet's screenplay for The Postman Always Rings Twice received mixed reviews. Its critics often point, as Gene Siskel did in the Chicago Tribune, to Mamet's "ill-conceived editing of the book's original ending." Yet, except for the ending, suggested Vincent Canby in the New York Times, "Mr. Mamet's screenplay is far more faithful to the novel than was the screenplay for Tay Garnett's 1946 version." Thus, Robert Hatch noted in the Nation, "Mamet and Rafelson recapture the prevailing insanity of the Depression, when steadiness of gaze was paying no bills and double or nothing was the game in vogue."


In the 1982 film The Verdict, screenwriter Mamet and director Sydney Lumet "have dealt powerfully and unsentimentally with the shadowy state that ideas like good and evil find themselves in today," observed Jack Kroll in Newsweek. The film stars Paul Newman as a washed-up lawyer caught in a personal, legal, and moral battle. "David Mamet's terse screenplay for The Verdict is . . . full of surprises," contended Janet Maslin in the New York Times; "Mamet has supplied twists and obstacles of all sorts." "Except for a few lapses of logic and some melodramatic moments in the courtroom," proclaimed a People reviewer, "[this] script from Barry Reed's novel is unusually incisive." Kroll detailed the screenplay's strong points, calling it "strong on character, on sharp and edgy dialogue, on the detective-story suspense of a potent narrative." In a New Republic article, Stanley Kauffmann concluded, "It comes through when it absolutely must deliver: Newman's summation to the jury. This speech is terse and pungent: the powerful have the power to convert all the rest of us into victims and that condition probably cannot be changed, but must it always prevail?"

Returns to the Theater

After writing The Verdict Mamet returned to live theater with Edmond, a play about "the American Dream gone bad," as the author related to Mimi Leahey in Other Stages. He expanded on similar themes as he began working on his next play, Glengarry Glen Ross. Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play is "so precise in its realism that it transcends itself," observed Robert Brustein in the New Republic, "and takes on reverberant ethical meanings. It is biting, . . . showing life stripped of all idealistic pretenses and liberal pieties." The play is set in and around a Chicago real estate office whose agents are embroiled in a competition to sell the most parcels in the Florida developments Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms. "Craftily constructed, so that there is laughter, as well as rage, in its dialogue, the play has a payoff in each scene and a cleverly plotted mystery that kicks in with a surprise hook at its ending," wrote Richard Christiansen in the Chicago Tribune.

As in Mamet's earlier plays, the characters and their language are very important to Glengarry Glen Ross. In the Nation, Stephen Harvey commented on Mamet's ability to create characters who take on a life of their own within the framework of the play: In Glengarry, "he adjusts his angle of vision to suit the contours of his characters, rather than using them to illustrate an idea." Mamet told Kastor of the Washington Post, "I think that people are generally more happy with a mystery than with an explanation. So the less that you say about a character the more interesting he becomes." Mamet uses language in a similar manner. Harvey noted, "The pungency of Glengarry's language comes from economy: if these characters have fifty-word vocabularies, Mamet makes sure that every monosyllable counts." And as Kroll remarked, "His antiphonal exchanges, which dwindle to single words or even fragments of words and then explode into a crossfire of scatological buckshot, make him the Aristophanes of the inarticulate." Mamet is, according to New York Times reviewer Benedict Nightingale, "the bard of modern-day barbarism, the laureate of the four-letter word."



For the real estate agents in Glengarry Glen Ross, the bottom line is sales. And, as Robert Brustein noted, "Without a single tendentious line, without any polemical intention, without a trace of pity or sentiment, Mamet has launched an assault on the American way of making a living." Nightingale called the play "as scathing a study of unscrupulous dealing as the American theater has ever produced." The Pulitzer Prize awarded to Mamet for Glengarry Glen Ross not only helped increase its critical standing, but it also helped to make the play a commercial success. However, unlike his real estate agents, Mamet is driven by more than money. He told Kastor, "In our interaction in our daily lives we tell stories to each other, we gossip, we complain to each other, we exhort. These are means of defining what our life is. The theater is a way of doing it continually, of sharing that experience, and it's absolutely essential."

Mamet followed this success up with Speed-the-Plow, which was produced on Broadway in 1988, starring pop-star Madonna in a drama that targets Hollywood for its satire. Reviewing the production at New York's Royale Theatre in 1988, Leo Sauvage noted in the New Leader that the "play does give us a sardonic and entirely appropriate view of the process by which films are conceived." However Sauvage went on to complain that the play "ends up a lifeless essay." The story of a movie producer and his friend, a would-be producer, and the temp secretary who momentarily turns their world upside down, Speed-the-Plow was described as a "foul-mouthed and ferociously funny slice of Hollywood life" by Time's William A. Henry III. Henry went on to note that it was difficult to tell if Mamet's new play was "an outcry against Hollywood, or a cynical apologia from a man who, in real life, is finishing one Hollywood film, and about to start another."


Writer Turns Director

That Hollywood film referred to in Henry's review was Mamet's directorial debut, House of Games, starring his wife, Lindsay Crouse, as a psychoanalyst who has just published a book on compulsions. Helping one of her compulsive clients, a gambler, she is drawn into the world of gambling herself by this patient who proves to be a consummate con man. The psychoanalyst discovers that she, too, is a compulsive. Reviewing this movie in New Republic, Stanley Kauffmann commented that "deceit is a key theme in David Mamet's work—deceit with a unique candid flavor." Kauffmann noted that Mamet used the same theme in this "extraordinary piece of work." Ben Pappas, writing in Forbes, called the video reproduction of that film a "cinematic Chinese box that stacks con upon con."

Mamet continued his string of Hollywood successes with the screenplay adaptation for The Untouchables in 1987, and for Things Change in 1988, dealing with a mob scam. Mamet also directed this title. The 1991 Homicide was another dual credit for Mamet, who both wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Employing what was slowly becoming a Mamet company of actors such as Joe Mantegna and William Macy, Mamet tells the story of a Jewish and Irish police detective "trying to cope with each nightmare day," as Mark Goodman noted in People. Writing in Time, Richard Corliss found the film a "dandy morality play." Further adventures in motion pictures in the mid-1990s included the screenplay for Hoffa and for the adaptation of his own play, Glengarry Glen Ross. In 1991 Mamet, divorced from his first wife, married for a second time, to actress Rebecca Pidgeon.

Mamet's lives in the theater and in film began to merge with Oleanna, produced as a play in 1993 and as a movie in 1994. Political correctness is at the center of this story of a sociology professor who is accused of sexual harassment by one of his female students. What ensues is an escalating game/feud between accused and accuser. Commonweal's Gerald Weales found the play a "fascinating disquisition on power," while Time's Henry applauded the strength of writing and staging that had him "virtually leaping out of his chair in fury at the injustice and unreason." Henry concluded that whatever imperfections the play had, it also had "the power to incense," and, "like [the power] to sadden or amuse, [it] is reason enough to cheer for the future of the theater."


Returning to the theater for the 1994 production The Cryptogram, Mamet "dramatizes a child's emotional abuse in a way that no other American play has ever attempted: from the child's point of view," according to New Yorker critic John Lahr. The playwright draws on his personal experiences of violent outbreaks, mistrust, and betrayal that he encountered in his own family, but the play blurs such autobiographical elements between its author 's fictions. Taking place in Chicago over the span of a single month during the late 1950s, the play's main character, ten-year-old John, is trying to make sense of the double message dispensed by his parents and family friends: lies and unkept promises are commonplace, yet he is expected to trust those who deceive him. "People may or may not say what they mean," Mamet explained to Lahr, "but they always say something designed to get what they want." Characteristically, language plays an important role in The Cryptogram: as its author noted, "The language of love is . . . fairly limited. 'You're beautiful,' 'I need you,' 'I love you,' 'I want you.' Love expresses itself, so it doesn't need a lot of words. On the other hand, aggression has an unlimited vocabulary."


While Mamet's own directorship of The Cryptogram received the traditional mixed reviews from critics due to his fractured language, New York Times reviewer Vincent Canby found much to praise. Calling the play "a horror story that also appears to be one of Mr. Mamet's most personal plays," Canby noted that "It's not about the sort of physical abuse we see in television docudramas, but about the high cost of the emotional games played in what are otherwise considered to be fairly well-adjusted families." The Cryptogram received the Obie Award from the Village Voice for best play in 1995.



Renaissance Man


Having found success in both play writing and screen writing, Mamet next ventured into the world of books. He initially wrote children's picture books with his first wife in the 1980s. From there he branched out into nonfiction with several collections of essays, including Writing in Restaurants, Some Freaks, On Directing Film, The Cabin, and Make-Believe Town, the first four volumes later collected as A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays. These revealing collections are packed with Mamet's fascinating thoughts, opinions, recollections, musings, and reports on a variety of topics such as friendship, religion, politics, morals, society, and of course, the American theater. "The 30 pieces collected in David Mamet's first book of essays contain everything from random thoughts to firmly held convictions," stated Richard Christiansen in his review of Writing in Restaurants for Chicago's Tribune Books,"but they all exhibit the author's singular insights and moral bearing."Christiansen pointed out that"many of the essays have to do with drama, naturally, but whether he is talking to a group of critics or to fellow workers in the theater, Mamet is always urging his audience to go beyond craft and into a proud, dignified, loving commitment to their art and to the people with whom they work."

Writing for the Times Literary Supplement, Andrew Hislop declared that "Mamet has been rightly acclaimed as a great dialoguist and a dramatist who most effectively expresses the rhythms of modern urban American (though the poetic rather than mimetic qualities of his dialogue are often underestimated). The best writing in [Writing in Restaurants] comes when he muses on the details of America—and his own life." Hislop continued, "Running through the book is the idea that the purpose of theatre is truth but that the decadence of American society, television and the materialism of Broadway are undermining not just the economic basis but the disciplines and dedication necessary for true theatre."


The Cabin, published in 1992, contains twenty essays that reflect their author's macho concerns—guns, cigars, beautiful women—as well as his life as a writer. The work's structure was characterized by Los Angeles Times Book Review critic Charles Solomon as "a succession of scenes illuminated by an erratic strobe light: A single moment appears in harsh focus, then vanishes." We follow the author from his tumultuous childhood in 'The Rake' to a description of his New Hampshire haven where he does his writing in the title essay. The two dozen essays in Make-Believe Town recall Mamet's love of the theater and his respect for his Jewish heritage and introduce those "appalled" by the language of his stage plays to "Mamet the thoughtful learner, teacher, the friend, the literary critic, the hungernature writer, the culture, press and film critic, the political commentator, the moralist and, most delightfully, the memoirist,"according to Tribune Books critic John D. Callaway.

Mamet turns thespian teacher in his 1997 True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, a book, according to Booklist's Jack Helbig, that is "suffused with warmth and heartfelt concern for the actor and is thereby far more nurturing than a hundred acting studios and feel-good seminars." A Publishers Weekly critic similarly observed that this "controversial book will anger many in the profession but may also inspire because of its brashness and daring." In Jafsie and John Henry Mamet gathers twenty-seven essays on themes from aging to remembrances of his Chicago boyhood. "Mamet's collection offers the spectacle of a fierce intelligence at work and at play in the world," commented a critic for Publishers Weekly. Likewise, Donna Seaman, writing in Booklist, felt that "Mamet achieves exhilarating clarity, elegance, and forcefulness of expression in his newest essay collection." In South of the Northeast Kingdom, Mamet's 2002 "stimulating collection of essays," as Keir Graff described the work in Booklist, Mamet explores the ins and outs of the state where he has lived part of the year since college. He includes stories about neighbors and about the larger world, including the events of September 11, 2001, all told in a "digressive style that recalls languid conversations by an embering stove," as Graff further commented. A critic for Kirkus Reviews called the same book a "sidelong, inferential portrait of Mamet's Vermont hometown, with a spirited indictment of American political perfidy and cultural poverty." Mamet deals with religious topics in his 2003 nonfiction title, Five Cities of Refuge, written with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, illuminating aspects of the Torah. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found this book both "insightful and inspiring."

In 1994, Mamet published his first novel, The Village. Taking place in a small, once-thriving town in New England, the novel reveals the emotional complexity of the lives of its characters. From Dick, the hardware-store owner fighting to stay in business, Manis, a local prostitute, and especially Henry, an "outsider" retired and escaping a failed marriage who wants to recapture the macho lifestyle of a century ago, Mamet captures "the flat, dark underside of the flapjack of small town life that Thorton Wilder's 'Our Town' served as the fluffy, arcing top to," according to Tribune Books reviewer Ross Field. While reviewers noted that the novel's characters and central idea are well conceived, the novel's dialogue caused some critics to water down their enthusiasm for the book. James McManus contended in the New York Times Book Review that, "because of the novel's design and mechanical problems, the potency of [some] scenes tends not to accumulate. For a playwright of such muscular succinctness, Mr. Mamet has a narrative prose that turns out to be weirdly precious." However, in his review for the Washington Post Book World, Douglas Glover praised The Village. "Mamet's novel explores a community with its own laws, language, codes, habits and sense of honor," noted Glover. "It does so with a deft reverence for the real—Mamet's eye for detail and his ear for the rhythms of vernacular speech are incomparable—coupled with a certain difficulty of approach, an avant-garde edge."


Further novels have followed, including The Old Religion, Bar Mitzvah, The Chinaman, Henrietta, and the 2002 title Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources. In The Old Religion Mamet presents a fictionalized account of the life and death of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory owner in the South in 1914 who was, though innocent, accused and tried of the rape and murder of a white girl and later hanged by a mob. Booklist's Margaret Flanagan called this a "riveting novel utterly dependent on one man's inner dialogue with himself." With Wilson, Mamet presents an "imitation of a scholarly work—or at least the sort of scholarly work that might be undertaken in the 24th century," noted a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. In his novel, Mamet posits a post-apocalyptic world. In this case, however it was not the bomb that devastated the Earth, but an Internet crash in 2021 that destroyed and/or garbled what history was left. Thus Lincoln composed his Gettysburg Address while riding an elephant; Kennedy committed suicide. Since the crash, scholars have only been able to dig up bits and pieces of the real history, trying to piece together a civilization from scraps of girlie magazines or children's books. For the Publishers Weekly contributor, Wilson was "less a novel than an extended joke—albeit a curiously compelling one." Other reviewers were less flattering. Book's Tom LeClair, for example, noted that "in this fiction, names abound but characters don't exist. No plot or conceptual continuity fills the lacuna of character."



Popcorn


Queried by a contributor for Newsweek International about the difference between theater and film, Mamet answered, "Popcorn." That, and the ability to earn a real living. Much of his work through the 1990s and into the twenty-first century has been focused on film, both writing and directing. His 1997 movie, The Spanish Prisoner, deals with another con or scam, just as did his directorial debut, House of Games. Casting his own wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, against Steve Martin, Mamet tells his "finest shell game," as Time's Richard Corliss observed. In this flim-flam, a group of businessmen are dangled the prize of being able to purchase a top-secret mathematical formula known as The Process. Corliss praised the film as a "diamond-hard, ice-cold thriller." A reviewer for Entertainment Weekly called the same film a "fine, bitter, intellectual heist," and the Nation's Stuart Klawans found the movie "teasing, ingenious, [and] grandly entertaining." A political scam is at the heart of the 1997 Wag the Dog, with a script by Mamet, in which a war is staged to turn an election. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman felt that the script "doesn't just aim its darts at the moral bankruptcy of modern media snake-oil salesmen. It aims them at a populace all too eager to lap up their lies." Gleiberman further called the film a "savagely funny media satire." Another criminal scam forms the story of The Heist, written and directed by Mamet in 2001. Variety's David Rooney described this film as a "playful ensemble piece about a crack robbery team going for a major gold haul." Time's Richard Schickel found the same film to be a "well-tooled machine chugging coldly along a twisting road to nowhere," but Maclean's contributor Brian D. Johnson was more entertained, dubbing the film "great fun," and akin to "playing speed chess."




Mamet turned to comedy with State and Main, in which a movie crew invades a sleepy Vermont town. Time's Richard Corliss called this a "tasty inside dish." The multi-talented writer has also attempted the thriller format in his 2004 feature film, Spartan, starring Val Kilmer playing a secret agent who is a professional killing machine. Kilmer has very little time to find the president's daughter, gone missing, and he does not go about his work gently. Writing in the Nation, Klawans observed that "however enjoyable Mamet's films may be—the best of them, including the new Spartan, are thoroughly entertaining—they never risk his emotions, or the viewers, as the plays do."

And the unfailingly productive Mamet meanwhile created further theatrical inventions for his fans, at the same time he was writing and directing movies and publishing numerous books. In 1998 he brought together three one-act plays for The Old Neighborhood. His 2002 production, Boston Marriage, was an abrupt departure for the rough-talking, cigar-smoking Mamet, more of a drawing room play of manners with a cast of women who speak in rather refined—some critics even called it stilted—tones. Variety's Matt Wolf thought the play was a "painful blind alley" for Mamet, with dialogue and movement affected by "overriding archness." Julius Novick, writing in Back Stage, found more to like in the work, however, calling it an "amusing play about two elegant ladies in a drawing room." The two have a so-called "Boston Marriage," or homosexual relationship, but one of them has fallen for a younger woman. Novick further praised the "exaggerated formality of . . . [the] language" as "frequently quite funny." In 2004, Mamet also mounted a production of his reworking of Marlowe's Dr. Faustus.




If you enjoy the works of David Mamet

If you enjoy the works of David Mamet, you may also want to check out the following:


Network, an Academy Award-winning film, 1976.

The Grifters, a film starring John Cusack, 1990.

Boiler Room, a film starring Ben Affleck, 2000.

"Mamet continues to surprise," commented Riley in Back Stage West. "Most Pulitzer Prize winners...make you think of a button-down intellectual." But Mamet is anything but button-down. With one foot in Hollywood and another in New York, he has forged a career in film, theater, and book publishing large enough for three creators. "In his work," Riley concluded, "Mamet continues to vex, to confound, and the audience who goes along for the ride is all the better for it." Speaking with Andy Culpepper on CNN Online, Mamet gave his own interpretation of his work: "If someone wanted to sum up my career, they would put on my tombstone, 'His mind was racing, and he wrote it down.'"




Biographical and Critical Sources


BOOKS


Bigsby, Christopher W., David Mamet, Metheun (New York, NY), 1985.

Bigsby, Christopher W., editor, The Cambridge Companion to David Mamet, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Bock, Hedwig, and Albert Wertheim, editors, Essays on Contemporary American Drama, Max Hueber (Munich, Germany), 1981.

Brewer, Gay, David Mamet and Film: Illusion/Disillusion in a Wounded Land, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1993.

Carroll, Dennis, David Mamet, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Contemporary Authors Bibliographical Series, Volume 3, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1986.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 9, 1978; Volume 15, 1980; Volume 34, 1985; Volume 46, 1988; Volume 91, 1996.

Dean, Anne, David Mamet: Language as Dramatic Action, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1990.

Drama Criticism, Volume 4, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Kane, Leslie, editor, David Mamet: A Casebook, Garland (New York, NY), 1991.

Kane, Leslie, David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross:Text and Performance, Garland (New York, NY), 1996.

Kane, Leslie, Weasels and Wisemen: Education, Ethics, and Ethnicity in David Mamet, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

King, Kimball, Ten Modern American Playwrights, Garland (New York, NY), 1982.



PERIODICALS


America, September 23, 1995, Ronald C. Wendling, review of The Village, p. 26.

American Theatre, July-August, 1996, Todd London, "Mamet-vs-Mamet," pp. 18-21; November, 2002, Frank J. Boldaro, review of Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, pp. 80-81.

Back Stage, October 29, 1999, Victor Gluck, review of "Mr. Happiness" and "The Water Engine," p. 48; January 21, 2000, Eric Grode, review of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, p. 44; September 20, 2001, Brad Schreiber, review of A Life in the Theatre, p. 14; November 22, 2002, Julius Novick, review of Boston Marriage, p. 48; September 5, 2003, Lisa Martland, "From Mamet to Millie," pp. 23-24; April 2, 2004, Richard Dodds, review of Dr. Faustus, p. 30.

Back Stage West, October 11, 2001, T. H. McCulloh, review of American Buffalo, p. 13; November 7, 2002, Jenelle Riley, review of A Life in the Theatre, p. 18; March 11, 2004, Jenelle Riley "Calling the Shots: From Stage to Screen, Writer/Director David Mamet Continues to Surprise with His Innovation and Originality," pp. 1-3.

Book, September, 2001, Tom LeClair, review of Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, p. 76.

Booklist, September 1, 1997, Jack Helbig, review of True and False, p. 49; October 1, 1997, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Old Religion, p. 308; February 1, 1998, Jack Helbig, review of 3 Uses of the Knife, p. 893; March 1, 1999, Donna Seaman, review of Jafsie and John Henry, p. 1144; September 15, 2002, Keir Graff, review of South of the Northeast Kingdom, p. 202.

Commonweal, December 4, 1992, Gerald Weales, review of Oleanna, p. 15.

Daily Variety, November 21, 2002, review of BostonMarriage, pp. 2-3; March 8, 2004, Robert Koehler, review of Spartan, p. 13; March 9, 2004, Dennis Harvey, review of Dr. Faustus,pp. 4-5.

DM: The David Mamet Review (newsletter of the David Mamet Society), 1994—.

Economist, August 2, 2003, review of Edmond, p. 72.

Entertainment Weekly, December 5, 1997, William Stevenson, review of The Old Neighborhood, p. 74; January 16, 1998, Owen Gleiberman, review of Wag the Dog, pp. 40-41; March 6, 1998, Denise Lanctot, review of The Edge, p. 86; April 24, 1998, review of The Spanish Prisoner, p. 59; June 5, 1998, Elizabeth Gleick, "Yes, Mamet," pp. 18-19.

Forbes, August 10, 1998, Ben Pappas, review of House of Games, p. 128.

Interview, April, 1998, Graham Fuller, "April's Favorite Fooler,"p. 66; December, 2000, Gug Flatley, review of State and Main, p. 58.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of South of theNortheast Kingdom, pp. 1012-1013.

Library Journal, October 1, 1997, J. Sara Paulk, review of True and False, p. 85; October 1, 1997, Molly Abramowitz, review of The Old Religion, p. 123; March 15, 1999, Nancy Patterson Shires, review of Jafsie and John Henry, p. 79; March 15, 2001, Barry X. Miller, review of State and Main (shooting script), p. 87.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 13, 1992, Charles Solomon, review of The Cabin, p. 3.

Maclean's, November 12, 2001, Brian D. Johnson, "A Knack for Noir: David Mamet and the Coen Brothers Prove Their Mastery of the Genre," p. 53.

Nation, January 5, 1998, Laurie Stone, review of TheOld Neighborhood, pp. 33-34; April 27, 1998, Stuart Klawans, review of The Spanish Prisoner, pp. 35-36; December 30, 2000, David Kaufman, review of Boston Marriage, p. 35; April 12, 2004, Stuart Klawans, review of Spartan, p. 32.

New Leader, June 13, 1988, Leo Sauvage, review of Speed-the-Plow, pp. 20-21; December 14, 1992, Stefan Kanfer, review of Oleanna, p. 26.

New Republic, July 12, 1982, Stanley Kauffmann, review of The Verdict, pp. 23-24; November 16, 1987, Stanley Kauffmann, review of House of Games, pp. 22-23; September 16, 1996, Stanley Kauffmann, review of American Buffalo, pp. 28-29; November 3, 1997, Alfred Kazin, review of The Old Religion, pp. 36-38; February 2, 1998, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Wag the Dog, pp. 24-25; April 27, 1998, Stanley Kauffmann, review of The Spanish Prisoner, p. 26; October 19, 1998, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Ronin, p. 30.

New Statesman, September 4, 1998, Gerald Kaufman, review of The Spanish Prisoner, p. 39; June 2, 2003, Sheridan Morley, "Norwegian Wood: Sheridan Morley on a Damp Ibsen, An Early Mamet and Shakespeare Out of His Time," p. 46.

Newsweek, October 6, 1997, David Ansen, review of The Edge, p. 73; November 19, 2001, Devin Gordon, interview with Mamet, "Mamet's on a Classic Caper," p. 69.

Newsweek International, December 3, 2001, "Movie Time," p. 4.

New York Daily News, October 23, 1977, Robert Wahls, "Jogging with Mamet."

New Yorker, April 10, 1995, John Lahr, review of TheCryptogram, pp. 33-34.

New York Times, April 14, 1995, Vincent Canby, review of The Cryptogram, p. C3.

New York Times Book Review, November 20, 1994, James McManus, review of The Village, p. 24.

New York Times Magazine, April 21, 1985, Samuel G. Freedman, "The Gritty Eloquence of David Mamet."

Other Stages, November 4, 1982, Mimi Leahey, "The American Dream Gone Bad."

People, December 20, 1982, review of The Verdict; May 4, 1987; October 21, 1991, Mark Goodman, review of Homicide, p. 20; October 6, 1997, Leah Rozen, review of The Edge, pp. 25-26.

Publishers Weekly, September 29, 1997, review of True and False, p. 78; February 8, 1999, review of Jafsie and John Henry, p. 200; September 24, 2001, review of Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, p. 67; August 4, 2003, review of Five Cities of Refuge,p. 75.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, summer, 2002, Joseph Dewey, review of Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, p. 224.

Shofar, spring, 2004, review of Five Cities of Refuge, pp. 188-189.

Tikkun, November-December, 1997, interview with Mamet, "David Mamet on 'The Old Religion', " p. 10.

Time, May 16, 1988, William A. Henry III, "Madonna Comes to Broadway," pp. 98-99; October 21, 1991, Richard Corliss, review of Homicide, p. 101; November 2, 1992, William A. Henry III, review of Oleanna, p. 69; September 29, 1997, Richard Corliss, review of The Edge, p. 100; April 6, 1998, Richard Corliss, review of The Spanish Prisoner, p. 72; March 1, 1999, Richard Corliss, review of Lansky, p. 81; May 17, 1999, Richard Corliss, review of The Winslow Boy, p. 90; December 25, 2000, interview with Mamet, "David Mamet," p. 164; January 15, 2001, Richard Corliss, review of State and Main, p. 138; November 19, 2001, Richard Schickel, review of Heist, p. 143.

Time International, May 26, 2003, James Inverne, "Another (Yawn) Celeb Play," p. 71.

Times Literary Supplement, February 16, 1996, Andrew Hislop, review of Writing in Restaurants, p. 23.

Variety, November 24, 1997, Greg Evans, review of The Old Neighborhood, p. 72; December 15, 1997, Godfrey Cheshire, review of Wag the Dog, p. 58; March 1, 1999, Phil Gallo, review of Lansky, p. 76; April 26, 1999, Dennis Harvey, review of The Winslow Boy, p. 44; November 1, 1999, Charles Isherwood, review of Mr. Happiness and The Water Engine, p. 99; January 17, 2000, review of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, p. 140; April 16, 2001, Matt Wolf, review of Boston Marriage, p. 39; September 10, 2001, David Rooney, review of Heist, p. 62; May 13, 2002, Charles Isherwood, "Ricky Jay on the Stem,"p. 32; May 26, 2003, Matt Wolf, review of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, p. 42; August 4, 2003, Matt Wolf, review of Edmond, p. 30; March 15, 2004, Dennis Harvey, review of Dr. Faustus, p. 50.

Village Voice, July, 1976, "David Mamet, Remember That Name," pp. 101, 103-04.

White Plains Reporter Dispatch (White Plains, NY), October 16, 1977, Jaques le Sourd, "All Work Is David Mamet's Play."


ONLINE


About.com,http://actionadventure.about.com/ (March 9, 2004), "David Mamet Interview."

CNN Online,http://cnn.entertainment.printthis.clickability.com/ (March 22, 2004), Andy Culpepper, "It's a Story. A Story about David Mamet." Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (June 12, 2004).

Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (October 24, 1997), Richard Covington, "The Salon Interview: David Mamet."*

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Mamet, David

MAMET, David

MAMET, David. American, b. 1947. Genres: Children's fiction, Plays/ Screenplays, Poetry, Film, Essays. Career: Goddard College, Plainfield, VT, artist-in-residence, 1971-73; St. Nicholas Theatre Co., Chicago, founder and artistic director, 1973-76; Illinois Arts Council, faculty member, 1974; University of Chicago, visiting lecturer, 1975-76; Oui mag., contributing editor, 1975-76; Yale School of Drama, New Haven, CT, teaching fellow, 1976-77; Goodman Theatre, Chicago, associate artistic director, 1978-79; New Theatre Co., Chicago, associate director, 1985-. Publications: A Life in the Theatre, 1978; American Buffalo, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Duck Variations: Three Plays, 1978; Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and Duck Variations: Two Plays, 1978; The Water Engine: An American Fable, and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, 1978; Dark Pony, and Reunion, 1979; The Woods, 1979; Lakeboat, 1981; Edmond, 1983; Warm and Cold (for children), 1984; Glen-garry Glen Ross, 1984; Short Plays and Monologues, 1985; Goldberg Street (collection), 1985, The Cherry Orchard (adaptation), 1985; Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, 1985; Three Children's Plays, 1986; The Owl (for children), 1986; Writing in Restaurants (essays), 1986; Three Jewish Plays, 1987, House of Games (screenplay), 1987; Speed-the-Plow, 1988; Things Change (screenplay), 1988; Uncle Vanya (adaptation), 1988; Some Freaks (essays), 1990; The Hero Pony (poetry), 1990; We're No Angels (screenplay), 1990; On Directing Film, 1991; Oh, Hell! (plays), 1991; The Cabin, 1992; Homicide: A Screenplay, 1992; Hoffa (screenplay), 1992; Oleanna, 1992; The Village (novel), 1994; The Cryptogram, 1995; Passover, 1995; The Duck and the Goat, 1996; Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, 1996; The Old Religion, 1997; The Old Neighborhood, 1997; On Acting, 1999; Chinaman (poems), 1999; Bar Mitzvah, 1999; Henrietta, 1999; Jafsie and John Henry, 1999; Boston Marriage, 2000; Wilson, 2000; South of the Northeast Kingdom, 2002; (with L. Kushner) Five Cities of Refuge, 2003; Dr. Faustus, 2004. Address: c/o Howard Rosenstone, Rosenstone Wender Agency, 3 E 48th St #4, New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.

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Mamet, David 1947–

Mamet, David 1947–

(David Alan Mamet)

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Mam-et"; born November 30, 1947, in Chicago, IL; son of Bernard Morris (an attorney) and Lenore June (a teacher; maiden name, Silver) Mamet; married Lindsay Crouse (an actress), December 21, 1977 (divorced); married Rebecca Pidgeon (an actress), 1991; children: Willa, Zosia, Clara. Education: Attended Neighborhood Play-house School of the Theater, 1968–69; Goddard College, B.A., 1969. Politics: "The last refuge of the unimaginative." Religion: "The second-to-last."

ADDRESSES: Agent—Howard Rosenstone, Rosenstone/Wender, 3 East 48th St., New York, NY 10017.

CAREER: Playwright, screenwriter, director, and producer. Marlboro College, special lecturer in drama, 1970. St. Nicholas Theater Company, Chicago, IL, founder, 1973, artistic director, 1973–76, member of board of directors, beginning 1973; Goodman Theater, Chicago, associate artistic director, 1978–79. Goddard College, artist-in-residence in drama, 1971–73; Illinois Arts Council, faculty member, 1974; University of Chicago, visiting lecturer in drama, 1975–76 and 1979; Yale University, School of Drama, teaching fellow, 1976–77; New York University, guest lecturer, 1981; Columbia University, associate professor of film, 1988. Producer of motion pictures, including Lip Service, 1988, Hoffa, 1992, and A Life in the Theater, 1993. Actor in motion pictures, including Black Widow, 1986, and The Water Engine, 1992. Directed Ricky Jay: On the Stem, 2002, and "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants." Has also worked in a canning plant, a truck factory, at a real estate agency, and as a window washer, office cleaner, and taxi driver. Atlantic Theater Company, chair of the board.

MEMBER: Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America, Actors Equity Association, PEN, United Steelworkers of America, Randolph A. Hollister Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Joseph Jefferson Award, 1975, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and 1976, for American Buffalo; Obie Awards, Village Voice, for best new American play, 1976, for Sexual Perversity in Chicago and American Buffalo, for best American play, 1983, for Edmond, and for best play, 1995, for The Cryptogram; Children's Theater grant, New York State Council on the Arts, 1976; Rockefeller grant, 1976; Columbia Broadcasting System fellowship in creative writing, 1976; New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best American play, 1977, for American Buffalo, and 1984, for Glengarry Glen Ross; Outer Critics Circle Award, 1978, for contributions to the American theater; Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1983, for The Verdict, and 1997, for Wag the Dog; Society for West End Theatre Award, 1983; Pulitzer Prize for drama, Joseph Dintenfass Award, Elizabeth Hull-Warriner Award, Dramatists Guild, Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award nomination, American Theater Wing, for best play, all 1984, all for Glengarry Glen Ross, Tony Award nomination for best reproduction of a play, 1984, for American Buffalo; Tony Award for best play, 1988, for Speed-the-Plow; American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, 1986; Golden Globe Award nomination for best screenplay, 1988, for House of Games; Writers Guild Award nomination for best screenplay based on material from another medium, 1988, for The Untouchables.

WRITINGS:

PLAYS

Lakeboat (one-act; produced in Marlboro, VT, 1970; revised version produced in Milwaukee, WI, 1980), Grove (New York, NY), 1981.

Duck Variations (one-act; produced in Plainfield, VT, 1972; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1975), in Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago (one-act; produced in Chicago, 1974; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1975), in Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Squirrels (one-act), produced in Chicago, 1974.

The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15 (produced in Chicago, 1974), in Three Children's Plays, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1986.

American Buffalo (two-act; produced in Chicago, 1975; produced on Broadway, 1977), Grove (New York, NY), 1977.

Reunion (one-act; produced with Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Louisville, KY, 1976; produced Off-Broadway with Dark Pony and The Sanctity of Marriage, 1979), in Reunion and Dark Pony: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1979, in Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1982.

Dark Pony (one-act; produced with Reunion, New Haven, CT, 1977; produced Off-Broadway with Reunion and The Sanctity of Marriage, 1979), in Reunion and Dark Pony: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1979, in Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1982.

All Men Are Whores (produced in New Haven, CT, 1977), in Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

A Life in the Theatre (one-act; produced in Chicago, 1977; produced Off-Broadway, 1977), Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two Speed-Clock (produced in Queens, NY, 1977), Sergel (Chicago, IL), 1978.

(And director) The Woods (two-act; produced in Chicago, 1977; produced Off-Broadway, 1979), Grove (New York, NY), 1979.

The Water Engine: An American Fable (two-act; produced as a radio play on the program Earplay, Minnesota Public Radio, 1977; stage adaptation produced in Chicago, 1977; produced Off-Broadway, 1977), in The Water Engine: An American Fable and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Mr. Happiness (produced with The Water Engine, on Broadway, 1978), in The Water Engine: An American Fable and Mr. Happiness: Two Plays, Grove (New York, NY), 1978.

Lone Canoe; or, The Explorer (musical), music and lyrics by Alaric Jans, produced in Chicago, 1979.

The Sanctity of Marriage (one-act; produced Off-Broadway with Reunion and Dark Pony, 1979), in Reunion, Dark Pony, and The Sanctity of Marriage: Three Plays, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1982.

Shoeshine (one-act; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1979), in Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

A Sermon (one-act), produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1981.

Donny March, produced 1981.

Litko (produced in New York, NY, 1984), in Short Plays and Monologues, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1981.

Edmond (produced in Chicago, 1982; produced Off-Broadway, 1982), Grove (New York, NY), 1983.

The Disappearance of the Jews (one-act), produced in Chicago, 1983.

The Dog, produced 1983.

Film Crew, produced 1983.

4 A.M., produced 1983.

Glengarry Glen Ross (two-act; produced on the West End, 1983; produced on Broadway, 1984), Grove (New York, NY), 1984.

Five Unrelated Pieces (contains Two Conversations, Two Scenes, and Yes, but so What; produced Off-Off-Broadway, 1983), in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.

Vermont Sketches (contains Pint's a Pound the World Around, Deer Dogs, Conversations with the Spirit World, and Dowsing; produced in New York, NY, 1984;), in A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.

The Shawl [and] Prairie du Chien (one-act plays; produced at Lincoln Center, 1985), Grove (New York, NY), 1985.

A Collection of Dramatic Sketches and Monologues, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1985.

Vint (one-act; based on Anton Chekov's short story; produced in New York, NY with six other one-act plays based on Chekov's short works, under the collective title Orchards, 1985), in Orchards, Grove (New York, NY), 1986.

(Adaptor) Chekov, The Cherry Orchard (produced at Goodman Theatre, 1985), Grove (New York, NY), 1987.

Three Children's Plays (contains The Poet and the Rent: A Play for Kids from Seven to 8:15, The Revenge of the Space Pandas; or, Binky Rudich and the Two Speed-Clock, and The Frog Prince), Grove (New York, NY), 1986.

The Woods, Lakeboat, Edmond, Grove (New York, NY), 1987.

Speed-the-Plow (produced on Broadway, 1988), Grove (New York, NY), 1988.

Where Were You When It Went Down?, produced in New York, NY, 1988.

(Adaptor and editor) Chekov, Uncle Vanya, Grove (New York, NY), 1989.

Goldberg Street (short plays and monologues), Grove (New York, NY), 1989.

Bobby Gould in Hell, produced with The Devil and Billy Markham by Shel Silverstein, New York, NY, 1989.

Five Television Plays: A Waitress in Yellowstone; Bradford; The Museum of Science and Industry Story; A Wasted Weekend; We Will Take You There, Grove (New York, NY), 1990.

Oleanna (also see below; produced, 1991), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1992, Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1993.

(Adaptor) Anton Chekov, The Three Sisters: A Play, Samuel French (New York, NY), 1992.

A Life with No Joy in It, and Other Plays and Pieces (contains Almost Done, Monologue, Two Enthusiasts, Sunday Afternoon, The Joke Code, A Scene, Fish, A Perfect Mermaid, Dodge, L.A. Sketches, A Life with No Joy in It, Joseph Dintenfass, and No One Will Be Immune), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1994.

Plays—One (collection; includes Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Squirrels, American Buffalo, The Water Engine, and Mr. Happiness), Methuen (London, England), 1994.

(And director) The Cryptogram (also see below; produced in London, 1994; produced Off-Broadway, 1995), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1995, Vintage (New York, NY), 1995.

The Old Neighborhood: Three Plays (also see below; includes The Disappearance of the Jews, Jolly, and Deeny), Vintage (New York, NY), 1998.

Boston Marriage (produced at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, 1999, produced at Joseph Papp Public Theater, 2002), Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

David Mamet Plays: 4 (includes The Cryptogram, Oleanna, and The Old Neighborhood), Methuen (London, England), 2002.

Dr. Faustus: A Play, Vintage (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of No One Will Be Immune and Other Plays and Pieces, and Oh Hell.

SCREENPLAYS

The Postman Always Rings Twice (adaptation of the novel by James M. Cain), Paramount, 1981.

The Verdict (adaptation of the novel by Barry Reed), Columbia, 1982.

(And director) House of Games (based on a story by Mamet; produced by Orion Pictures, 1987), Grove (New York, NY), 1987.

The Untouchables (based on the television series), Paramount, 1987.

(With Shel Silverstein; and director) Things Change (produced by Columbia Pictures, 1988), Grove (New York, NY), 1988.

We're No Angels (adaptation of the 1955 film of the same name; produced by Paramount, 1989), Grove (New York, NY), 1990.

(And director) Homicide (produced by Columbia, 1991), Grove (New York, NY), 1992.

Glengarry Glen Ross (based on Mamet's play of the same title), New Line Cinema, 1992.

The Water Engine (teleplay; based on Mamet's play of the same title), Amblin Television, 1992.

Hoffa, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1992.

Texan (film short), Chanticleer Films, 1994.

(And director) Oleanna (based on Mamet's play of the same title), Samuel Goldwyn, 1994.

Vanya on 42nd Street (adapted from the play Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov), Film Four International, 1994.

American Buffalo (based on Mamet's play of the same title), Samuel Goldwyn, 1996.

(And director) The Spanish Prisoner, Sweetland Films, 1997, published in The Spanish Prisoner and The Winslow Boy: Two screenplays, Vintage (New York, NY), 2002.

The Edge, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1997.

Wag the Dog (based on the novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart), New Line Cinema, 1997.

Lansky, HBO, 1998.

(And director) State and Maine, Fine Line Pictures, 2000.

Lakeboat, Oregon Trail Films, 2000.

Whistle, Geisler-Roberdeau, 2000.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson), 2000.

(With Steven Zaillian) Hannibal (based on the novel by Thomas Harris), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2001.

(And director) Heist, Morgan Creek Productions, 2001.

Also author of the teleplay A Life in the Theater, based on Mamet's play of the same title.

NOVELS

The Village, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1994.

The Old Religion: A Novel (historical fiction), Free Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Bar Mitzvah, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 1999.

The Chinaman, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 1999.

Henrietta, Houghton Mifflin (New York, NY), 1999.

Jafsie and John Henry, Free Press (New York, NY), 1999.

OTHER

Warm and Cold (children's picturebook), illustrations by Donald Sultan, Solo Press (New York, NY), 1984.

(With wife, Lindsay Crouse) The Owl (children's book), Kipling Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Writing in Restaurants (essays, speeches, and articles), Penguin (New York, NY), 1987.

Some Freaks (essays), Viking (New York, NY), 1989.

(With Donald Sultan and Ricky Jay) Donald Sultan: Playing Cards, edited by Edit deAk, Kyoto Shoin (Kyoto, Japan), 1989.

The Hero Pony: Poems, Grove Weidenfeld (New York, NY), 1990.

On Directing Film, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

The Cabin: Reminiscence and Diversions, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.

A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays, Faber (New York, NY), 1994.

Passover (children's picturebook), illustrated by Michael McCurdy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.

The Duck and the Goat (children's picturebook), illustrated by Maya Kennedy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Make-Believe Town: Essays and Remembrances, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor (essays), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1997.

Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama (part of the "Columbia Lectures on American Culture" series), Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

On Acting, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.

David Mamet in Conversation, edited by Leslie Kane, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2001.

(Author of foreword) Jimmy Kennedy, Maya Kennedy, and Marialisa Calta, River Run Cookbook: Southern Comfort from Vermont, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2001.

South of the Northeast Kingdom, National Geographic Society (Washington, DC), 2002.

(With Lawrence Kushner) Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Also author of episodes of Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1987, and L.A. Law, NBC. Contributing editor, Oui, 1975–76. Contributed to Donald Sultan: in the Still-Life Tradition, with Steven Henry Madoff, 1999.

ADAPTATIONS: The film About Last Night…, released by Tri-Star Pictures in 1986, was based on Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago.

SIDELIGHTS: David Mamet has acquired a great deal of critical recognition for his plays, each one a micro-cosmic view of the American experience. "He's that rarity, a pure writer," noted Jack Kroll in Newsweek, "and the synthesis he appears to be making, with echoes from voices as diverse as Beckett, Pinter, and Hemingway, is unique and exciting." Since 1976, Mamet's plays have been widely produced in regional theaters and in New York City. One of Mamet's most successful plays, Glengarry Glen Ross, earned the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best American play and the Pulitzer Prize in drama, both in 1984. Critics have also praised Mamet's screenwriting; he received Academy Award nominations for best adapted screenplay for The Verdict in 1983, and for Wag the Dog in 1997.

Mamet "has carved out a career as one of America's most creative … playwrights," observed Mel Gussow in New York Times, "with a particular affinity for working-class characters." These characters and their language give Mamet's work its distinct flavor. Mamet is, according to Kroll, "that rare bird, an American playwright who's a language playwright." "Playwriting is simply showing how words influence actions and vice versa," Mamet explained to People contributor Linda Witt. "All my plays attempt to bring out the poetry in the plain, everyday language people use. That's the only way to put art back into the theater." Mamet has been accused of eavesdropping, simply recording the insignificant conversations of which everyone is aware; yet, many reviewers recognize the playwright's artistic intent. Jean M. White commented in Washington Post that "Mamet has an ear for vernacular speech and uses cliche with telling effect." Furthermore, added Kroll, "Mamet is the first playwright to create a formal and moral shape out of the undeleted expletives of our foulmouthed time."

In his personal and creative life, Mamet has resisted the lure of Broadway, its establishment, and its formulas for success. He was born and raised in Chicago—his father was a labor lawyer. His parents divorced while Mamet and his sisters were young. The Windy City serves not only as inspiration for much of his work, but it has also provided an accepting audience for Mamet's brand of drama, especially in the early days of his career, when he worked nights as a busboy at The Second City and spent his days with the theater crowd and writing his plays. "Regional theaters are where the life is," he told Robin Reeves in Us. "They're the only new force in American theater since the 30s." Yet, despite Mamet's seeming indifference to Broadway and the fact that the language and subject matter of his plays make them of questionable commercial value, several of his plays have been featured on Broadway.

The first of Mamet's plays to be commercially produced were Sexual Perversity in Chicago and Duck Variations. Sexual Perversity portrays the failed love affair between a young man and woman, each trying to leave behind a relationship with a homosexual roommate. The dialogue between the lovers and their same-sex roommates reveals how each gender can brutally characterize the other. Yet, "the play itself is not another aspect of the so-called battle of the sexes," observed C. Gerald Fraser in New York Times. "It concerns the confusion and emptiness of human relationships on a purely physical level." New Yorker reviewer Edith Oliver maintained that "the piece is written with grace," and found it "one of the saddest comedies I can remember." In Duck Variations, two old Jewish men sit on a bench in Chicago looking at Lake Michigan. Their observation of the nearby ducks leads them into discussions of several topics. "There is a marvelous ring of truth in the meandering, speculative talk of these old men," maintained Oliver, "the comic, obsessive talk of men who spend most of their time alone, nurturing and indulging their preposterous notions." In the conversation of these men, wrote T.E. Kalem in Time, Mamet "displays the Pinter trait of wearing word masks to shield feelings and of defying communication in the act of communicating." Duck Variations reveals, according to Oliver, that Mamet is an "original writer, who cherishes words and, on the evidence at hand, cherishes character even more." "What emerges is a vivid sense of [the old men's] friendship, the fear of solitude, the inexorable toll of expiring lives," concluded Kalem.

Mamet emerged as a nationally acclaimed playwright with his 1975 two-act American Buffalo. "America has few comedies in its repertory as ironic or as audacious as American Buffalo," proclaimed John Lahr in Nation. Set in a junk shop, the play features the shop's owner, an employee, and a friend engaged in plotting a theft; they hope to steal the coin collection of a customer who, earlier in the week, had bought an old nickel at the shop. When the employee fails to tail the mark to his home, the plot falls into disarray and "the play ends in confused weariness," explained Elizabeth Kastor in Washington Post. Although little takes place, Oliver commented in New Yorker, "What makes [the play] fascinating are its characters and the sudden spurts of feeling and shifts of mood—the mounting tension under the seemingly aimless surface, which gives the play its momentum."

American Buffalo confirmed Mamet's standing as a language playwright. Reviewing the play in Nation, Lahr observed, "Mamet's use of the sludge in American language is completely original. He hears panic and poetry in the convoluted syntax of his beleaguered characters." And, even though the language is uncultivated, David Richards contended in Washington Post that "the dialogue [is] ripe with unsettling resonance." As Frank Rich of New York Times remarked, "Working with the tiniest imaginable vocabulary … Mamet creates a subterranean world with its own nonliterate comic beat, life-and-death struggles, pathos and even affection."

In this play, critics also see Mamet's vision of America, "a restless, rootless, insecure society which has no faith in the peace it seeks or the pleasure it finds," interpreted Lahr. "American Buffalo superbly evokes this anxious and impoverished world." Its characters, though seemingly insignificant, reflect the inhabitants of this world and their way of life. "In these bumbling and inarticulate meatheads," believed Lahr, "Mamet has found a metaphor for the spiritual failure of entrepreneurial capitalism."

Since its first Chicago production in 1975, American Buffalo has been produced in several regional theaters and has had three New York productions. In Mamet's management of the elements of this play, New York Times reviewer Benedict Nightingale highlighted the key to its success: "Its idiom is precise enough to evoke a city, a class, a subculture; it is imprecise enough to allow variation of mood and feeling from production to production." Nightingale added in another article, "Buffalo is as accomplished as anything written for the American stage over … the last 20 years."

In 1979 Mamet was given his first opportunity to write a screenplay. As he told Don Shewey in New York Times, working on the screenplay for the 1981 film version of James M. Cain's novel The Postman Always Rings Twice was a learning experience. Director Bob Rafelson "taught me that the purpose of a screenplay is to tell the story so the audience wants to know what happens next," Mamet maintained, "and to tell it in pictures." He elaborated, "I always thought I had a talent for dialogue and not for plot, but it's a skill that can be learned. Writing for the movies is teaching me not to be so scared about plots." Mamet's screenplay for The Postman Always Rings Twice has received mixed reviews. Its critics often point, as Gene Siskel did in Chicago Tribune, to Mamet's "ill-conceived editing of the book's original ending." Yet, except for the ending, suggested Vincent Canby in New York Times, "Mr. Mamet's screenplay is far more faithful to the novel than was the screenplay for Tay Garnett's 1946 version." Thus, Robert Hatch noted in Nation, "Mamet and Rafelson recapture the prevailing insanity of the Depression, when steadiness of gaze was paying no bills and double or nothing was the game in vogue."

In the 1982 film The Verdict, screenwriter Mamet and director Sydney Lumet "have dealt powerfully and un-sentimentally with the shadowy state that ideas like good and evil find themselves in today," observed Jack Kroll in Newsweek. The film stars Paul Newman as a washed-up lawyer caught in a personal, legal, and moral battle. "Mamet's terse screenplay for The Verdict is … full of surprises," contended Janet Maslin in New York Times, "Mamet has supplied twists and obstacles of all sorts." "Except for a few lapses of logic and some melodramatic moments in the courtroom," proclaimed a People reviewer, "[this] script from Barry Reed's novel is unusually incisive." Kroll detailed the screenplay's strong points, calling it "strong on character, on sharp and edgy dialogue, on the detective-story suspense of a potent narrative." In a New Republic article, Stanley Kauffmann concluded, "It comes through when it absolutely must deliver: Newman's summation to the jury. This speech is terse and pungent: the powerful have the power to convert all the rest of us into victims and that condition probably cannot be changed, but must it always prevail?"

After writing The Verdict Mamet began working on his next play, Glengarry Glen Ross. Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play is "so precise in its realism that it transcends itself," observed Robert Brustein in New Republic, "and takes on reverberant ethical meanings. It is biting,… showing life stripped of all idealistic pretenses and liberal pieties." The play is set in and around a Chicago real estate office whose agents are embroiled in a competition to sell the most parcels in the Florida developments Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms. "Craftily constructed, so that there is laughter, as well as rage, in its dialogue, the play has a payoff in each scene and a cleverly plotted mystery that kicks in with a surprise hook at its ending," wrote Richard Christiansen in Chicago Tribune.

As in Mamet's earlier plays, the characters and their language are very important to Glengarry Glen Ross. In Nation, Stephen Harvey commented on Mamet's ability to create characters who take on a life of their own within the framework of the play: In Glengarry, "he adjusts his angle of vision to suit the contours of his characters, rather than using them to illustrate an idea." Mamet told Kastor of Washington Post, "I think that people are generally more happy with a mystery than with an explanation. So the less that you say about a character the more interesting he becomes." Mamet uses language in a similar manner. Harvey noted, "The pungency of Glengarry's language comes from economy: if these characters have fifty-word vocabularies, Mamet makes sure that every monosyllable counts." And as Kroll remarked, "His antiphonal exchanges, which dwindle to single words or even fragments of words and then explode into a crossfire of scatological buckshot, make him the Aristophanes of the inarticulate." Mamet is, according to New York Times reviewer Benedict Nightingale, "the bard of modern-day barbarism, the laureate of the four-letter word." In New York Times Magazine, Richard Eder remarked, "From the beginning, Mr. Mamet's most notable and noticeable quality was his extraordinary use of speech. He concentrated not upon cultivated expression but upon that apparent wasteland of middle American speech. It was the language of the secretary, the salesman, the file clerk, the telephone lineman, the small-time crook, the semiliterate college kid. It was grotesquely realistic."

For the real estate agents in Glengarry Glen Ross, the bottom line is sales. And, as Robert Brustein noted, "Without a single tendentious line, without any polemical intention, without a trace of pity or sentiment, Ma-met has launched an assault on the American way of making a living." Nightingale called the play "as scathing a study of unscrupulous dealing as the American theater has ever produced." The Pulitzer Prize awarded to Mamet for Glengarry Glen Ross not only helped increase its critical standing, but it also helped to make the play a commercial success. However, unlike his real estate agents, Mamet is driven by more than money. He told Kastor, "In our interaction in our daily lives we tell stories to each other, we gossip, we complain to each other, we exhort. These are means of defining what our life is. The theater is a way of doing it continually, of sharing that experience, and it's absolutely essential."

The Cryptogram, Mamet's 1994 play, "dramatizes a child's emotional abuse in a way that no other American play has ever attempted: from the child's point of view," according to New Yorker critic John Lahr. The playwright draws on his personal experiences of violent outbreaks, mistrust, and betrayal that he encountered in his own family, but the play blurs such autobiographical elements between its author's fictions. Taking place in Chicago over the span of a single month during the late 1950s, the play's main character, ten-year-old John, is trying to make sense of the double message dispensed by his parents and family friends: lies and unkept promises are commonplace, yet he is expected to trust those who deceive him. "People may or may not say what they mean," Mamet explained to Lahr, "but they always say something designed to get what they want." Characteristically, language plays an important role in The Cryptogram: as its author noted, "The language of love is … fairly limited. 'You're beautiful,' 'I need you,' 'I love you,' 'I want you.' Love expresses itself, so it doesn't need a lot of words. On the other hand, aggression has an unlimited vocabulary."

While Mamet's own directorship of The Cryptogram received the traditional mixed reviews from critics due to his fractured language, New York Times reviewer Vincent Canby found much to praise. Calling the play "a horror story that also appears to be one of Mr. Mamet's most personal plays," Canby noted, "It's not about the sort of physical abuse we see in television docudramas, but about the high cost of the emotional games played in what are otherwise considered to be fairly well-adjusted families." The Cryptogram received the Obie Award from Village Voice for best play in 1995.

In 1994, on the heels of The Cryptogram, Mamet published his first novel, The Village. Taking place in a small, once-thriving town in New England, the novel reveals the emotional complexity of the lives of its characters. From Dick, the hardware-store owner fighting to stay in business, Manis, a local prostitute, and especially Henry, an "outsider" retired and escaping a failed marriage who wants to recapture the macho lifestyle of a century ago, Mamet captures "the flat, dark underside of the flapjack of small town life that Thorton Wilder's 'Our Town' served as the fluffy, arcing top to," according to Tribune Books reviewer Ross Field. While reviewers noted that the novel's characters and central idea are well conceived, the novel's dialogue caused some critics to water down their enthusiasm for the book. James McManus contended in New York Times Book Review that "because of the novel's design and mechanical problems, the potency of [some] scenes tends not to accumulate. For a playwright of such muscular succinctness, Mr. Mamet has a narrative prose that turns out to be weirdly precious." However, in his review for Washington Post Book World, Douglas Glover praised The Village. "Mamet's novel explores a community with its own laws, language, codes, habits and sense of honor," noted Glover. "It does so with a deft reverence for the real—Mamet's eye for detail and his ear for the rhythms of vernacular speech are incomparable—coupled with a certain difficulty of approach, an avant-garde edge."

In addition to plays and screenplays, Mamet has published several collections of essays, including Writing in Restaurants, Some Freaks, On Directing Film, The Cabin, and Make-Believe Town, the first four volumes later collected as A Whore's Profession: Notes and Essays. These revealing collections are packed with Mamet's fascinating thoughts, opinions, recollections, musings, and reports on a variety of topics such as friendship, religion, politics, morals, society, and of course, the American theater. "The 30 pieces collected in David Mamet's first book of essays contain everything from random thoughts to firmly held convictions," stated Richard Christiansen in his review of Writing in Restaurants for Chicago's Tribune Books, "but they all exhibit the author's singular insights and moral bearing." Christiansen pointed out that "many of the essays have to do with drama, naturally, but whether he is talking to a group of critics or to fellow workers in the theater, Mamet is always urging his audience to go beyond craft and into a proud, dignified, loving commitment to their art and to the people with whom they work."

The Cabin, published in 1992, contains twenty essays that reflect their author's macho concerns—guns, cigars, beautiful women—as well as his life as a writer. The work's structure was characterized by Los Angeles Times Book Review critic Charles Solomon as "a succession of scenes illuminated by an erratic strobe light: A single moment appears in harsh focus, then vanishes." We follow the author from his tumultuous childhood in "The Rake" to a description of his New Hampshire haven where he does his writing in the title essay. The two dozen essays in Make-Believe Town recall Mamet's love of the theater and his respect for his Jewish heritage and introduce those "appalled" by the language of his stage plays to "Mamet the thoughtful learner, teacher, the friend, the literary critic, the hunger-nature writer, the culture, press and film critic, the political commentator, the moralist and, most delightfully, the memoirist," according to Tribune Books critic John D. Callaway.

With his play Boston Marriage, Mamet departed from his more well-known use of tough male characters to portray an elegant pair of Victorian lesbians. In this comedy of manners, Anna has become the mistress of a wealthy married man in order to supplement her income, and Claire has fallen in love with a younger woman. When that young woman wonders how Anna has acquired her mother's heirloom necklace, both affairs are endangered, leading the two women to concoct a complicated scheme to get themselves out of trouble. As a reviewer remarked in Curtain Up, this play, rather than being a radical departure for Mamet, "is in fact just another example of his versatility."

In 2001, Mamet took on two major projects. The first was a new novel, Wilson: A Consideration of Sources, which examines the impact of the Internet on society. Set far in the future, Wilson introduces a society that has placed all books and paper archives on the Internet, destroying the original sources. When the Internet crashes, the only remaining source of information is the hard drive of Mrs. Wilson's computer. Mamet's book is composed in skewed sections as disorderly as the world he creates in it, much to the dismay of some critics.

Frank J. Baldaro wrote in American Theatre that Wilson is "an incomprehensible work that spills over with names but is devoid of characters." Baldaro disliked the novel's structure, calling it a "collage of faked bits and fragments" which "teems with incidents and anecdotes, but lacks either plot or sense—it's ultimately a literary stunt that dares to ridicule the jargon and bombast of scholarly writing, but is itself monumentally unfunny, apocalyptically cryptic and impossible to decode." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly, however, liked the ridicule in Mamet's work, calling it "an imitation of a scholarly work—or at least the sort of scholarly work that might be undertaken in the 24th century," concluding, "Mamet's jeu d'esprit will certainly surprise those who imagine the author of American Buffalo operates only in the backstreets idiom of his plays." Joseph Dewey of Review of Contemporary Fiction appreciated Mamet's take on the future in Wilson: "Mamet targets with luscious savvy and deadpan irony the limitless pretense of academics, hungry for tenure, to suture history … to talk their way into reasonable order."

Mamet also penned the script for Hannibal, the film sequel to Silence of the Lambs. In the script, Hannibal has escaped prison and is hiding out in Florence, Italy, as a museum curator. FBI detective Clarice Starling (played in the second movie by Julianne Moore) is reassigned to his case and proceeds to track him down. While the sequel to the original thriller was anxiously awaited by audiences, some were disappointed at the movie's lack of horror, blood, and guts. "Hannibal is more shocking, and amusing, than disturbing," wrote Brian D. Johnson in Maclean's. Johnson also stated that "despite some exquisite moments, Hannibal feels overwrought." Todd McCarthy praised the first movie, remarking in Variety that "the public will … exhibit a ravenous appetite for the continuing saga of one of contemporary literature and cinema's most fascinating villains." McCarthy admitted that the sequel was "ultimately more shallow and crass at its heart than its predecessor," but concluded that "Hannibal is nevertheless tantalizing, engrossing, and occasionally startling."

Writing for Times Literary Supplement, Andrew Hislop declared that "Mamet has been rightly acclaimed as a great dialogist and a dramatist who most effectively expresses the rhythms of modern urban American (though the poetic rather than mimetic qualities of his dialogue are often underestimated). The best writing in [Writing in Restaurants] comes when he muses on the details of America—and his own life." Hislop continued, "Running through the book is the idea that the purpose of theatre is truth but that the decadence of American society, television and the materialism of Broadway are undermining not just the economic basis but the disciplines and dedication necessary for true theatre."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Bigsby, C.W. E., David Mamet, Methuen (London, England), 1985.

Bock, Hedwig, and Albert Wertheim, editors, Essays on Contemporary American Drama, Max Hueber (Munich, Germany), 1981, pp. 207-223.

Brewer, Gay, David Mamet and Film: Illusion/Disillusion in a Wounded Land, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1993.

Carroll, Dennis, David Mamet, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press (Farmington Hills, MI), 1999.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 9, 1978, pp. 360-61; Volume 15, 1980, pp. 355-58; Volume 34, 1985, pp. 217-24; Volume 46, 1988, pp. 245-56; Volume 91, 1996, pp. 143-55.

Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 27, Thomson Gale (Farmington Hills, MI, 2000.

Dean, Anne, David Mamet: Language as Dramatic Action, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Tea-neck, NJ), 1990.

Drama Criticism, Volume 4, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.

Kane, Leslie, David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross: Text and Performance, Garland (New York, NY), 1996.

Kane, Leslie, editor, David Mamet: A Casebook, Garland (New York, NY), 1991.

Kane, Leslie, Weasels and Wisemen: Education, Ethics, and Ethnicity in David Mamet, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

King, Kimball, Ten Modern American Playwrights, Garland (New York, NY), 1982.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.

PERIODICALS

America, May 15, 1993, p. 16; September 23, 1995, p. 26; June 5, 1999, Richard A. Blacke, "Boy Overboard," p. 14.

American Theatre, December 1, 1999, p. 9; November, 2002, Frank J. Baldaro, review of Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources, p. 80; November 1, 2002, Frank J. Baldaro, review of Wilson, pp. 80-81; November 1, 2002, Randy Gener, "Speed the Plot: Six Playwrights Parlay Their Dramatic Themes into New Fiction," pp. 75-76; January 1, 2003, Jonathan Kalb, "Stardust Melancholy," pp. 42-49.

Back Stage, November 22, 2002, Julius Novick, review of Boston Marriage, p. 48.

Booklist, December 1, 1992; June 1, 1994.

Broadcasting & Cable, September 25, 2000, "CBS Teams with Mamet, Morrie Author," p. 28; September 30, 2002, "Pariah Television," p. 18.

Chicago, January, 1990, p. 65.

Chicago Tribune, January 18, 1987, p. 7; October 11, 1987; May 4, 1988; February 19, 1989; December 10, 1989.

Christian Century, September 13, 2000, James M. Wall, "Probing the Depths," p. 932.

Commonweal, December 4, 1992, p. 15.

Daily News, March 26, 1984.

Daily Variety, November 21, 2002, review of Boston Marriage, p. 2.

Economist (US), August 2, 2003, "Not Just a Blond Wizard; Kenneth Branagh," p. 72.

Entertainment Weekly, August 21, 1992, pp. 50-51; June 9, 1995, p. 68; July 9, 1999, review of Lansky, p. 82; January 12, 2001, "What to Watch," p. 61; November 16, 2001, Lisa Schwarzbaum, review of Heist, p. 144; December 7, 2001, "Cybertalk," p. 108; November 29, 2002, Doug Brod, review of Glengarry Glen Ross; December 13, 2002, Lawrence Frascella, review of Boston Marriage, p. 92.

Financial Times, December 5, 2001, Alastair Macaulay, review of Boston Marriage, p. 18; May 17, 2002, Lisa Schwarzbaum, review of Ricky: Jay on the Stem, p. 71.

Gentlemen's Quarterly, October, 1994, p. 110.

Georgia Review, fall, 1983, pp. 601-11.

Harper's, May, 1978, pp. 79-80, 83-87.

Hollywood Reporter, September 5, 2001, Michael Rechtshaffen, review of Heist, p. 2.

Insight on the News, January 9, 1995, p. 26; January 1, 2001, Rex Roberts, "Cinema Verite," p. 27.

Interview, December 1, 2000, Guy Flatley, review of State and Maine, p. 58.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1996, p. 580.

Library Journal, January, 1991, p. 106; June 1, 1996, p. 106; March 15, 2001, Barry X. Miller, review of State and Maine, p. 87.

London Review of Books, July 7, 1994, p. 7.

Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1979; June 25, 1984; July 7, 1987; October 11, 1987.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 13, 1992, p. 3; March 6, 1994, p. 8; June 30, 1996, p. 10; July 28, 1996, p. 11.

Maclean's, December 25, 2000, Brian D. Johnson, "Holiday Escapades: Tales of self-absorbed man enjoying mid-life epiphanies dominates this season's fare," p. 148; February 19, 2001, Brian D. Johnson, "Haute-Cannibal Cuisine," p. 48; November 12, 2001, Brian D. Johnson, "A Knack for Noir," p. 53.

Modern Drama, September, 1991, Jack V. Barbara, review of American Buffalo, pp. 271-72, 275.

Nation, May 19, 1979, pp. 581-82; April 14, 1981; October 10, 1981; April 28, 1984, pp. 522-23; June 27, 1987, pp. 900-02; December 30, 2002, David Kaufman, review of Boston Marriage, p. 35.

National Review, January 18, 1993, p. 28; May 31, 1999, John Simon, "Film: Pidgeon Feathers," p. 70; March 5, 2001, John Simon, "Ominous Appetites"; February 5, 2001, John Simon, "Lost and Found."

New Leader, April 16, 1984, pp. 20-21; December 14, 1992, p. 26.

New Republic, July 12, 1982, Robert Brustein, review of Edmond, pp. 23-24; February 10, 1986, pp. 25-26, 28; October 29, 1990, pp. 32-37; April 24, 1995, p. 46; May 24, 1999, p. 32; January 29, 2001, p. 28; April 30, 2001, p. 30.

New Statesman & Society, September 30, 1983, pp. 33, 36; July 2, 1993, p. 34; June 2, 2003, Sheridan Morley, "Norwegian Wood: Sheridan Morley on a Damp Ibsen, an Early Mamet, and Shakespeare out of His Time," p. 46.

Newsweek, February 28, 1977, p. 79; March 23, 1981; November 8, 1982; December 6, 1982; April 9, 1984, p. 109; October 19, 1987; November 9, 1992, p. 65.

New York, December 20, 1982, pp. 62, 64; June 8, 1987, pp. 68-69; March 9, 1992, p. 77; November 9, 1992, p. 72; November 30, 1992, p. 129; August 2, 1993, p. 50; October 11, 1993, p. 79; February 21, 1994, p. 52; February 12, 2001, David Ansen, "Knock, Knock. Who's There?," p. 56; November 19, 2001, Devin Gordon, review of Heist, p. 69.

New Yorker, November 10, 1975, Edith Oliver, review of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, pp. 135-36; October 31, 1977, pp. 115-16; January 16, 1978; October 29, 1979, p. 81; June 15, 1981; November 7, 1983; June 29, 1987, pp. 70-72; November 16, 1992, pp. 121-26; August 1, 1994, p. 70; April 10, 1995, pp. 33-34.

New York Post, December 24, 1985; March 26, 1984.

New York Times, July 5, 1976; March 18, 1979; April 26, 1979; May 26, 1979; June 3, 1979; October 19, 1979; March 20, 1981; May 29, 1981; June 5, 1981; February 17, 1982; May 17, 1982; June 17, 1982; October 24, 1982; October 28, 1982, p. C20; December 8, 1982; May 13, 1983; October 9, 1983, pp. 6, 19; November 6, 1983; March 26, 1984, p. C17; March 28, 1984; April 1, 1984; April 18, 1984; April 24, 1984; September 30, 1984; February 9, 1986; April 23, 1986; January 1, 1987; March 15, 1987; June 3, 1987; October 11, 1987; May 4, 1988; December 4, 1989; April 14, 1995, p. C3.

New York Times Book Review, December 17, 1989; January 17, 1993, p. 24; November 20, 1994, p. 24; April 9, 1995, p. 20; July 14, 1996, p. 17.

New York Times Magazine, March 12, 1978, Richard Eder, profile of Mamet, pp. 40, 42, 45, 47.

People, November 12, 1979; December 20, 1982; May 4, 1987.

Playboy, September, 1994, p. 78; April, 1995, p. 51.

Premiere, January, 1990, p. 108.

Publishers Weekly, November 16, 1992, p. 55; July 4, 1994, p. 52; April 8, 1996, p. 46; September 24, 2001, review of Wilson, p. 67; August 4, 2003, "Five Cities of Refuge: Weekly Reflections on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy," p. 75.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, June 22, 2002, Joseph Dewey, review of Wilson, p. 224.

Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 10, 2001, Philip Booth, review of Lakeboat, p. 14.

Saturday Review, April 2, 1977, p. 37.

Smithsonian, June 1, 2001, Kathleen Burke, review of River Run Cookbook: Southern Comfort from Vermont, p. 124.

Time, July 12, 1976; April 9, 1984, p. 105; December 25, 1989, pp. 87-90; August 24, 1992, p. 69; November 2, 1992, p. 69; October 18, 1993, p. 109; August 29, 1994, p. 71; May 17, 1999, Richard Corliss, "The Winslow Boy," p. 90; December 25, 2000, Joel Stein, "David Mamet," p. 164; January 15, 2001, Richard Corliss, review of State and Maine, p. 138; January 29, 2001, Jess Cagle, "The Bite Stuff," p. 60; November 19, 2001, Richard Schickel, review of Heist, p. 143.

Times Literary Supplement, January 29, 1988; July 15, 1994, Jim McCue, review of A Whore's Profession, p. 21; February 16, 1996, p. 23.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), January 18, 1987; December 13, 1992, p. 7; May 5, 1996, p. 3.

Us, January 10, 1978, Robin Reeves, interview with Mamet.

Variety, February 24, 1992, p. 257; May 11, 1992, p. 127; August 24, 1992, p. 65; April 5, 1993, p. 185; February 7, 1994, p. 60; June 21, 1999, Markland Taylor, review of Boston Marriage, p. 88; August 16, 1999, Michael Fleming, "Mamet Moves into Comedy with 'Maine,'" p. 13; November 1, 1999, Charles Isherwood, review of The Water Engine and Mr. Happiness, p. 99; January 17, 2000, Robert Hofler, review of Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Duck Variations, p. 140; February 14, 2000, Matt Wolf, review of American Buffalo, p. 49; March 6, 2000, Robert L. Daniels, review of Glengarry Glen Ross, p. 50; March 20, 2000, Charles Isherwood, review of American Buffalo, p. 36; April 17, 2000, Emanuel Levy, review of Lakeboat, p. 28; September 4, 2000, Eddie Cockrell, review of State and Maine, p. 19; February 5, 2001, Todd McCarthy, review of Hannibal, p. 37; April 16, 2001, Matt Wolf, review of Boston Marriage, p. 39; September 10, 2001, David Rooney, review of Heist, p. 62; January 7, 2002, Chris Jones, review of Glengarry Glen Ross, p. 53; May 13, 2002, Charles Isherwood, review of Ricky: Jay on the Stem, p. 32; May 26, 2003, Matt Wolf, review of Sexual Perversity in Chicago, p. 42; August 4, 2003, Matt Wolf, review of Edmond, p. 30.

Village Voice, July 5, 1976, Ross Wetzsteon, profile of Mamet, pp. 101, 103-04; May 7, 1979, Eileen Blu-menthal, review of The Woods, p. 103.

Washington Post, May 4, 1988.

World Literature Today, summer, 1982, p. 518.

ONLINE

CurtainUp.com, http://www.curtainup.com/ (May 28, 2003), review of Boston Marriage and Ricky Jay: On the Stem.

David Mamet Review (newsletter of the David Mamet Society), http://mamet.eserver.org/ (November 20, 2003).

FilmMakers, http://www.filmmakers.com/ (November 20, 2003), "David Alan Mamet: Filmography and Credits."

Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (May 28, 2003), interview with Mamet.

Smithsonian Online, http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/ (November 20, 2003), "Book Reviews: River Run Cookbook."

Sony Pictures Web site, http://www.sonypictures.com/ (November 20, 2003), "Ricky Jay."

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