- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (June 13, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 037570423X
- ISBN-13: 978-0375704239
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama 1st Vintage Books ed Edition
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Playwright David Mamet's three lectures at Columbia University are ostensibly about issues of dramatic structure, but as they unfold, and Mamet continually explores the relationship between dramatic structure and the lives we live, much broader concerns are revealed. Here, for example, is Mamet on political propaganda:
It is ... essential to the healthy political campaign that the issues be largely or perhaps totally symbolic--i.e., non-quantifiable. Peace With Honor, Communists in the State Department, Supply Side Economics, Recapture the Dream, Bring Back the Pride--these are the stuff of pageant. They are not social goals; they are, as Alfred Hitchcock told us, the MacGuffin.... The less specific the qualities of the MacGuffin are, the more interested the audience will be.... A loose abstraction allows audience members to project their own desires onto an essentially featureless goal.
Although occasionally academic, the overall tone of the lectures is consistent with Mamet's no-nonsense manner of speech. He has no time for obfuscation and little time for repetition, save when he must absolutely employ it for emphasis. He is passionate about good theater, and passionate about the truth. 3 Uses of the Knife makes an excellent companion piece to his True and False, which addressed similar philosophical matters in the form of advice on the actor's craft. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
One of America's leading living playwrights has crafted three short essays beginning with the premise that it is "our nature to dramatize." The belief in the centrality of drama to our daily lives and the centrality of our daily lives to good drama is the recurrent theme of his ruminations here. While he disdains the current vogue for "problem plays," he avoids attacking any of his contemporaries or their works. And without offering a how-to guide for aspiring playwrights, he provides some interesting thoughts on the inevitable difficulty in creating a convincing second act. Known and respected for his ability to create hyperrealistic dialog, Mamet ultimately reveals the theoretical justification for the sort of drama he writes so well. The text reads a bit like a lecture and never quite convinces the reader that this is a fundamental redefinition of drama. Still, it will be compelling to students of theater and serves as a good companion to Mamet's advice to actors, True and False (LJ 10/1/97). Recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Douglas McClemont, New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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When read as a series of loosely connected monologues regarding the philosophy and art of storytelling this is as good as all the other 5-star reviews say it is. Short but deep; not superficial, must be read as much emotionally as logically.
Original confused review:
I don't remember where I read this book praised so very highly that I bought it that day, so I don't remember the context. I found it meandering to the point it was almost incomprehensible. Perhaps I'm just not privy to Mr. Mamet's particular sort of genius, but I found little to benefit my writing life.
I think this book, as other Mamet books, benefits by his ironclad belief that there is one way to do things. He may actually argue that his POV is not consistent with my last sentence, but he is such an ornery S.O.B., that it is simply a pleasure to listen to him go off on his tirades and tangents.
Will this book allow you to write better? - Maybe. Will this book thoroughly entertain you and enlighten you with Mamet's POV on the issue? - Absolutely. It reads almost like fiction.
Most recent customer reviews
Though this book takes a few pages to get into, once you are in - you are in. [author:David Mamet|Read more
This was a pretty confusing book to read. I never seemed to get the point that he was trying to make, and some of the language was...Read more