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Rebel Housewife Reviews

Featuring response and reviews on anything and everything: mostly books; movies, kid stuff, and other life essentials, too. Rebel Reviews are (usually) not long and drawn out in tedious detail; not everything you ever wanted to know; not even terribly intellectual--just the basic info to encourage you to check it out, whatever it is, if it interests you too!

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This Week's Feature:


Mamet - When Books & Theater Collide

Mamet - When Books & Theater Collide

by Sherri Caldwell - www.RebelHousewife.com

ATLANTA: There are a dozen reasons why you should check your calendar, get online, and reserve your seats immediately to see David Mamet’s American Buffalo LIVE...

What: Live Theatre - David Mamet's American Buffalo
Who: Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company
Where: Southwest Arts Center - Atlanta
When: February 9 - March 6, 2016
More Info: www.truecolorstheatre.org

The most important reason: It will make you a more interesting person. I promise. You'll have something new and different to talk about -- the experience of live theater, this play, by this company, in particular. Impress your friends, your loved ones, your colleagues, your boss!

Do you know Mamet?

Chances are, you do, even though you might not realize it. David Mamet is a contemporary playwright, screenwriter and director, best known for Glengarry Glenn Ross (1984), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He later adapted the play for the 1992 film starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin. Mamet also wrote the screenplays for The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), The Verdict (1982), and Wag the Dog (1997), among many other projects.

Mamet launched his Broadway debut with American Buffalo in 1977. It went on to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Prize for Best American Play. American Buffalo has endured as a theater mainstay ever since.

Theater Critic Frank Rich, reviewing the 1981 Off-Broadway production for The New York Times, called the play “brilliant”, and noted:
“... Mr. Mamet creates a subterranean world with its own nonliterate comic beat, life-and-death struggles, pathos and even affection... In American Buffalo, he has created a deceptively small-scale tragedy that is packed with the power to explode the largest of American myths.”

At its core, American Buffalo is about business, friendship and betrayal, and the posturing of powerless individuals in the shadow of modern society. The drama is set in 1970s Chicago, in a derelict junk shop on the wrong side of town. Three petty crooks plan a small-time heist over a Buffalo Nickel, which may or may not be valuable.

When Books & Theater Collide

My readers know me for Literary Review-- a book lover, reading fanatic, and literacy advocate. As the coordinator of the long-running Midtown (Atlanta) Book Group at Barnes & Noble/Georgia Tech, I freely admit to all that and more-- I LOVE the experience of discovering a phenomenal book and sharing it. In this case, though, with David Mamet and American Buffalo -- and the chance to experience the play LIVE in Atlanta -- I strongly recommend you Go. See. The. Play.

Midtown Book Group was established in 2006, and is sponsored by Barnes & Noble and the Midtown Neighbors’ Association. We meet the 2nd Wednesday of every month, at Barnes & Noble/Georgia Tech to discuss and enjoy great books. In ten years, we have hosted and participated in many fantastic events to celebrate and promote Literacy & The Arts in our community.

In January, Midtown Book Group partnered with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company to co-host the Community Conversation: Mamet Speak about American Buffalo at Barnes & Noble/Georgia Tech.

Tim Habeger, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Atlanta's Push Push Film & Theater, moderated the Conversation. Panelists included American Buffalo (Atlanta) Director, John Dillon, award-winning actor Neal Ghant (“Teach” in the Atlanta production), and local author and theater expert, Ina Williams. The actors playing “Don” (G Valmont Thomas) and “Bobby” (Garrett Gray) in the Atlanta production also participated.

The Community Conversation was an interesting introduction to David Mamet’s work. It was also a fascinating glimpse behind-the-scenes of the Atlanta production.

Take a few minutes to enjoy Mamet Speak: Community Conversation Highlights:
-- American Buffalo (Atlanta) Director John Dillon tells how David Mamet came up with the idea for the play.
-- Actor Neal Ghant ("Teach") talks about the relevance of American Buffalo to Atlanta.
-- John Dillon explains the significance and symbolism of the Buffalo Nickel in American Buffalo (spoiler: endangered species vs. Progress).

Prior to the Community Conversation, I tried to read the play. There is great power in the language-- a kind of syncopated rhythm and poetry, even, for which David Mamet is well known. Normally, I'm pretty good at the reading thing, but... While the language is simple, realistic -- you could even say gritty -- the phrasing and tone are difficult to access without some frame of reference.

So I watched the movie (1996), starring Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz, and Sean Nelson -- screenplay written by David Mamet, directed by Michael Corrente. Even with terrific performances by talented actors, the drama onscreen is static and two-dimensional, lacking energy.

Movie critic Roger Ebert wrote:
“It is a cliché, but true, that some plays have their real life on the stage. American Buffalo is a play like that -- or, at least, it is not a play that finds its life in this movie.”

That's why you need to experience the play -- to see the characters, hear the language, and feel the interaction and energy live on stage in Atlanta with Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company.

It will make you a more interesting person. I promise.

What: Live Theatre - David Mamet's American Buffalo
Who: Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company
Where: Southwest Arts Center - Atlanta
When: February 9 - March 6, 2016
Ticket Info: www.truecolorstheatre.org