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Theatre Hardcover – April 13, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Sharp, savvy. . . . Icily hilarious. . . . Mr. Mamet writes with insight, idiosyncrasy, and a Godzillian imperviousness to opposition. (Janet Maslin, The New York Times on Bambi vs. Godzilla)

Winningly pugnacious. . . . [Bambi vs. Godzilla] is funny and angry and intemperate and passionate enough to tell the truth about movies. (San Francisco Chronicle on Bambi vs. Godzilla)

This is a book infused with love - the sweet, helpless love Mamet has for film, and the communal process that makes it. (Los Angeles Times on Bambi vs. Godzilla)

Playful . . . deft. . . . Mamet the dramatist has developed a career as a prolific philosophical essayist. (Chicago Sun-Times on Bambi vs. Godzilla)

About the Author

DAVID MAMET is a director as well as the author of numerous acclaimed plays, books, and screenplays. His play Glengarry Glen Ross won a Pulitzer Prize, and his screenplays for The Verdict and Wag the Dog were nominated for Academy Awards. He lives in Santa Monica, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865479289
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,473,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Mamet's numerous plays include Oleanna, Glengarry Glen Ross (winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award), American Buffalo, Speed-the-Plow, Boston Marriage, November, Race and The Anarchist. He wrote the screenplays for such films as The Verdict, The Untouchables and Wag the Dog, and has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. He has written and directed ten films, including Homicide, The Spanish Prisoner, State and Main, House of Games, Spartan and Redbelt. In addition, he wrote the novels The Village, The Old Religion, Wilson and many books of nonfiction, including Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose and Practice of the Movie Business; Theatre; Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama and the New York Times bestseller The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture. His HBO film Phil Spector, starring Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, aired in 2013 and earned him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing. He was co-creator and executive producer of the CBS television show The Unit and is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book reads like a drunken rant. So to loosely paraphrase Abe Lincoln, find out what brand of whiskey Mamet is drinking and give me a double.

Twenty-seven of playwright David Mamet's theatrical essays have been "organized", in no particular order, into a little book called THEATRE. The general subject matter is indeed the theatre, but with the topic drift between one essay and another no central premise can be discovered.

Lajos Egri fans know that the lack of a premise is the missing heart of bad playwriting. But nobody is suggesting that this book be adapted for the stage, so the reader can simply enjoy it for the wisdom it brings. And it is a very wise book. Be advised, with a book made up of rambling essays, the resulting review predictably also rambles, so in no particular order, my observations on Mamet's wisdom.

MAMET ON ACTING: Hit the final consonant, so you don't swallow the last two words of your speech. This alone will improve performances everywhere.

MAMET ON ACTING TRAINING: That famous acting schools are famous not because of the quality of their training but because they attracted super-talented people is undoubtedly true, but the training that perfects your voice and body could have gotten better attention. Mamet's comments about Sanford Meisner's technique are odd, considering how much of Meisner's approach is reflected in Mamet's writing. And while Meisner's repeating game may have never been finished by anybody, it's not without value, and I've watched children spontaneously engage in it.

MAMET ON THE "CULT" OF THE THEATRE: That the "Method" is nothing but psychobabble is a heresy that should have been stated a long time ago.
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Format: Hardcover
Mamet here attacks various theories of theater, most notably ideological ones, following Paul Johnson's critique of Brecht. That the book is short I do not see as a flaw, and I do not find any repetition other than than necessary to overcome entrenched views in the academy.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm getting angry at this book. Not because I disagree with Mamet's political views (though I do) or his theatrical views (cause I don't), but because it's not worth the money. Every goddamn essay makes the same points OVER and OVER again. He wrote one $5.00 essay and parlayed it into a $22.00 book.

One of the points constantly slammed home is that once your audience's eyes start glazing over, give up. You lost. I'm on page 138 and I'm hard pressed to finish it. My eyes are glazing over.

And this is coming from a Mamet FAN, not somebody who takes umbrage at his comtempt for Method acting. I loved "November". "Bobby Gould in Hell" is one of my favorite plays. His writing is entertaining and he makes valid theatrical points in this book.

And makes them.

And makes them.

And makes them.

Mamet needs to take his own advice about keeping up the audience's interest.
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Format: Hardcover
In this quick read, Mamet dissects the corpse of the modern American theatre in hopes of a resurrection. True, several concepts are repeated, but some must bear it in order to sink in. While I was challenged to agree with 100% of what's presented here, I'm interested in the productive center of the dramatic enterprise. Upon reflection I was edified.
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Format: Paperback
As usual, Mamet delivers. I recommend the book ASAP. Despite his naive, conservatist and even infantile view on politics & economy, in the line of Milton Friedmam, Reaganomics, Thatcherism and other horrors perpetrated against more than a hundred countries according to some honest agents who directed some of the Washinghton Consensus institutions. Even the great construction of modern times, the Welfare State is systematically atacked by the employees of the economic and financial power. He does not know that social democracy also came from the roots of Marxism. No matter, Mamet is always honest to the core and a delicious read. I, as an amateur artist, if not learning a lot from him, I am always confirming hugely on the grounds of his great talent and more than respectful experience. Any hope for Mamet's political education? No need. In his works he is always delivering in the same line of the Italian neorealism left wingers or pushing the stick right through the heart of the status quo (namely, capitalism). He practices critic or social realism in spite of himself. He thinks Brecht is a totalitarian when the problem with the German dramatist was "epicization" and a misreading of Aristotle. Of course the young Brecht committed political mistakes. Besides, when drama narrates it goes "pamphleteering" whether on the right or left. But even Mamet apparently does not perceive something Aristotelian: that Esotericism should never be central to drama or the price would be lack of substance. Also, apparently, he lacks knowledge that tragedy is always a moral, individual problem. Nothing to do directly with the gods. But only in this book, not in his works. Don't get me wrong. I love the man.Read more ›
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