New and Forthcoming
Survey of what is coming, including Mendes' Donmar Glengarry, Eddie Izzard in Cryptogram, and the film of Oleanna.
New and Forthcoming
In what Benedict Nightingale has called "The Year of the Mamet," audiences in London have been treated to a mini-Mamet Festival during 1993-94: Oleanna , directed by Harold Pinter (reviewed in this issue), Glengarry Glen Ross , directed by Sam Mendes, and the premiere of Mamet's latest and most personal play, The Cryptogram, directed by long-time collaborator Gregory Mosher. It has also been an extraordinarily productive year for Mamet who has directed the film version of his play, Oleanna, directed the New York production of Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants , completed a collection of essays, published an edition of one-act plays, and written his first novel, The Village . The following outlines these and other projects of interest to Mamet readers:
Theatre: Ten years after its premiere at the National Theatre, the revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, directed by Sam Mendes, which ran at the Donmar Warehouse in London from June 16-August 27, garnered uniformly strong reviews. A ferocious production that rivets attention on aggression, entrapment and betrayal as a way of life, Mendes's production was further strengthened by fine performances that convincingly conveyed the desperation of characters, the chilling use of a revolve, and a stunningly effective blazing red backdrop that set off the pallor and sweat on the faces of Mamet's salesmen.
The world premiere of The Cryptogram, originally set for New York, opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End on June 29 starring Lindsay Duncan, Eddie Izzard, and two child actors, Danny Worters and Richard Claxton, alternating in the role of the ten-year-old boy. A difficult and disturbing play about abandonment and betrayal written in Mamet's characteristically oblique and concise dialogue, Cryptogram' s reviews have been mixed. In sharp contrast to the hard-boiled terrain of con artists, Mamet rivets attention on personal treacheries in an encoded drama set in 1959 in Chicago, which some critics presume to have been drawn from Mamet's boyhood. While the situation and structure of three characters whose lives are upended in three scenes is recognizable to Mamet audiences, this production, playing to a half-full house, despite Lindsay Duncan's strong performance, packed more of a punch after viewing than during. A New York production is planned for late fall; director, cast and date not yet released.
Film: Filmed in Massachusetts in May at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, outside of Boston, which closely resembles a college campus, David Mamet directed the filming of Oleanna with William Macy. a longtime Mamet collaborator who premiered the role of the professor (seen previously in Homicide), and Deborah Eisenstadt, who starred in the role of the student Carol in the touring company of Oleanna Release is planned for October. Mamet shot the film from the play script and publication of a separate screenplay is not planned at this time.
Also opening in October is Andre Gregory's Vanya , based on David Mamet's adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya drawn from a word for word translation by Vlada Chernomordik. Originally commissioned by the American Repertory Company where its premiere was warmly received in 1988, Mamet's Uncle Vanya made its debut in Chicago at the Goodman in 1990. Filmed at the New Amsterdam Theatre by veteran film director Louis Malle for Sony Classic Pictures with Wallace Shawn in the title role, this film culminates Andre Gregory's secret production of Mamet's play developed between 1990-1992.
Publications: David Mamet's first novel, The Village, is set for publication by Little, Brown in October. Excerpted in the September issue of Playboy. The Village , sounds like Mamet. The recognizable rhythmic flow of internal dialogue balances bravado with sheer terror and the appetite for adventure with the desire for security in a tightly wrought story of personal challenge in the woods and in life.
Also new from Faber and Faber, Mamet's most recent collection of essays entitled, A Whore's Profession; Notes and Essays. Published in London on June 6, the collection is available in the United States.
Also published in 1994, Plays One , a collection of one act plays by Mamet from Methuen, London. Publication in New York is anticipated in late fall.
Musical Lyrics: The many-talented, and apparently never idle, David Mamet has written the lyrics for "The Raven" and collaborated with Rebecca Pidgeon on four other cuts of her new album, The Raven (Chesky JD 115). Released in 1994 to critical acclaim The Raven is, to our knowledge, the first musical collaboration of its kind between Rebecca Pidgeon and David Mamet. Pidgeon, whose professional credits include both acting and musical careers, was most recently seen as Carol in Oleanna