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Theatre Hardcover – April 13, 2010


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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: 0.7 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Bambi vs Godzilla:
 
“Sharp, savvy. . . . Icily hilarious. . . . Mr. Mamet writes with insight, idiosyncrasy, and a Godzillian imperviousness to opposition.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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

“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

“Playful . . . deft. . . . Mamet the dramatist has developed a career as a prolific philosophical essayist.” —Chicago Sun-Times

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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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth A. Morgan on September 8, 2010
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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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard M. Kuntz on April 25, 2010
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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26 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Craig Gustafson on April 18, 2010
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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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. A. Johnson on May 6, 2010
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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30 of 46 people found the following review helpful By S. Sharplin on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There's no denying that Mamet is one of the finest living American playwrights. His non-dramatic writings are hit and miss, but usually when he's writing about what he knows best--theatre--he reveals glimmers of brilliant insight. Writing in Restaurants, The Three Uses of the Knife, and True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor all suggest, in measured doses, the mystical side of drama, even while dismissing much of the dogma associated with Stanislavsky and the American Method.

Given his track record, a book called simply Theatre promised great things. But Mamet has run out of steam; while there may be a few worthwhile insights contained in this series of random, repetitive diatribes, they are all lifted from his previous books. In particular, Theatre is a misanthropic retread of all the "heretical" parts of True and False, as if Mamet is cranky because the entire profession didn't reform itself the moment his last book hit the stands.

I expect a lot of aspiring actors, directors, designers, and playwrights will buy this book in order to learn from a master. Tough, says Mamet; you can't learn anything about theatre, from him or anyone else. Actors are out of luck because, in Mamet's esteem, you've either got it or you don't. Directors are time-wasters, and designers distract from the only important thing on the stage, which is the plot. For playwrights, whose Herculean job it is to create that plot, Mamet's advice is succinct: "Learn how to write a plot." How does one do that? "By writing, revising, staging, revising, and starting again. Good luck."

Mamet's definition of theatre seems narrowly fixed upon a supposed Golden Age of Broadway.
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