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Sexual Perversity in Chicago and the Duck Variations: Two Plays Paperback – January 31, 1994
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Metropolitan swingers circling the drain of mean-streets cynicism and tough-talking bachelorhood, trawling the muddy waters of singles bars and yuppie night spots, searching for that ephemeral ounce of pleasure in a world of subterfuge and delay, mind-games and cruel deception, an odium of broken expectations and buried dreams.... Funny as the play is, it's distressing to have our noses rubbed in this point-blank opprobrium of our own basest impulses, the Spirit of Revenge which contaminates many of our frantic attempts to love and be loved.
Refreshingly, the women in Mamet's play seem much more interesting than the men, if only because their cynicism is more richly varied, more intellectually pungent. As shellshocked veterans of the gender war, it remains difficult to decide whether Mamet's scenarios are A: exaggerated worst-case aberrations, or B: (gulp) true-to-life tableaux on how perversely we are prone to behave toward one another, a vicious circle of paranoid self-hatred razing the purlieus of conventional "happiness" (or post-coital afterglow, once the bar is dropped).Read more ›
Perversity centers around the relationship of two pairs, one male (Danny and Bernard) and the other female (Deborah and Joan). Danny and Deborah become a couple. Bernard and Joan set out to tear it down. They succeed and by the end, Danny and Deborah are back with their mates, all possibility of love between them lost, lost, lost. The play is presented as a series of short scenes with blackouts in between. The dialogue is what would come to be seen as vintage Mamet -spare, colloquial, and oblique, especially when talking about things of the heart or soul. There's a lot of profanity, which fits, especially the characters of Bernard (misogynistic and opportunistic toward women) and Joan (equally negative about men and a user).
Variations is a little gem, arguably one of the best American plays of the last half of the twentieth century. It employs the same minimalistic style of conversing used in Perversity, but not pointed any place. In Perversity, all the random, sometimes scabrous talk leads to the demolition of Danny and Deborah's love affair. You can see the four characters' future lying ahead of them: self-absorbed, even solipsistic, turned off of deeper relationships and users all. The two old men in Variations just talk. They could be in a Beckett play, probably Waiting for Godot (1953), if Beckett had been a minimalist realist, writing in Chicago at the start of the `70s.Read more ›
My interest was always peaked about the catalyst of the 1986 film, so I have wanted to read the play for quite sometime now. My brother bought me this book for my birthday and now I was finally able to satisfy my curiosity. This book features two plays "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" and "The Duck Variations", both written by David Mamet.
The play is totally different from the film. (From my understanding David Mamet loathed "About Last Night"...) The dialogue is much rawer, in your face, honest and not quite as jovial. There is a still an element of comedy, but I would suggest it is more focused human relations, where the movie is more of a "romantic-comedy". There are only four characters in this play; Danny, Debbie, Bernie and Joan. The events take place over a nine week period in a Chicago summer.
The scenes are short and many ways leave much open to interpretation, as does the entire play. Not only do I feel that this is a wonderful play, I feel it really depicts the struggle and camaraderie between men and women. As for this play being written in the early 1970s, the dialogue and situations are still relevant in modern times.
"The Duck Variations" is a very different type of play from "Sexual Perversity in Chicago". "The Duck Variations" is about two elder men named George and Emil who are sitting in a park and discussing many different aspects of life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kazerinsky destroyed this play when he made the movie "About Last Night." Read the play, enjoy the language and the irony. Mamet is the best.Published on March 28, 2007 by zen
I wish i could give this no stars because I was very dissapointed. I got "Sexual Perversity" thinking it would be as good as the movie "About Last Night". Wow, was I wrong. Read morePublished on December 24, 2003 by MHart
Nature, the Duck, and Death...is it all morbid useless talk? Not to David Mamet. In his play, The Duck Variations, the true ways of this fowl creature are discussed humorously,... Read morePublished on August 17, 2000 by Libby Bulloff
I found Mamet's plays to be different to the norm, they are not for the Shakespearian lover who expects the usaul 'neatness' of a play. Read morePublished on February 10, 2000 by Nic Dawkes