Leslie Kane addresses issues of organization of the Society.
Since its organization two years ago, The David Mamet Society has accomplished many of its stated goals. It has grown into a viable, visible, and truly international society of scholars whose interest, energy, and research is animated by David Mamet's plays, films, and fiction. Its annual newsletter has made available to its membership timely theatre reviews of Mamet's new work and productions of previous works, book reviews of works written by and about Mamet, and a scrupulously researched current bibliography of published and forthcoming research on Mamet's canon here and abroad. When it meets in Chicago in December, the Executive Committee and the membership of the David Mamet Society will have before it two major issues to resolve to assure the growth of the society: securing financial support to publish The Dauid Mamet Review in a hardbound annual volume; exploring the possibility of an annual meeting of the society at the ATHE Conference.
Two years ago Christopher Hudgins and I held an organizational meeting at MLA at which we set before interested participants our goal of launching The Dauid Mamet Review as a hardbound annual volume of approximately one hundred twenty pages comprised of critical essays, interviews, theatre and book reviews, and annual bibliography. All concurred that for an initial period of two years the publication of The David Mamet Review would appear as a twelve-page newsletter whose cost would be fully supported by Westfield State College and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, both of whom had generously extended to us the financial resources to launch the society, disseminate information about its existence through advertising and attendance at conferences, and publish an annual newsletter. That two-year period has expired.
As Production Editor, Hudgins has explored the cost of publication with the University of Nevada Press whose estimate of $7000 is a competitive price for this type of journal. Even with several library memberships, the brunt of this cost must annually be underwritten by contributions of academic institutions. Given the reality of tighter budgets at all institutions, we are appealing to the entire membership—both within and outside of the United States—to make a formal proposal to their respective deans to contribute to a consortium of institutions who are willing to share the financial burden for the publication of The David Mamet Review. If you believe that your institution would be willing to contribute to the publication of the journal—even a minimal contribution—I strongly urge you to write, call or fax Chris Hudgins to discuss further the details for the publication proposal. Clearly, the membership dues will cover the cost of an annual newsletter. However, the quality of longer submissions, the enduring value of timely analytic essays, the availability to a wider audience, and the attractiveness to libraries of a hardbound format behooves us to seek funding to support a critical journal that will provide a venue for the publication of significant research by our members and scholars in other disciplines, as well as the many interviews and longer critical pieces continually being offered to us for publication.
On a related issue, many members are unaware that the Modern Language Association has frozen application for membership of Allied Societies, despite their worthiness. Thus, the David Mamet Society must submit a proposal annually for a Special Session in order to present Mamet scholarship. Although a very strong proposal entitled "Genre and Gender Transformations," based upon stimulating abstracts by Profs. Goldensohn, Borden and Peace, was submitted in 1994, the session was not approved. I am delighted to report that a Special Session entitled, "David Mamet's American Buffalo, Twenty Years After: Chicago, Gender, and Parodic Jewish Characterization," submitted by Hudgins has been approved (more on this later). We have also been invited to present sessions at ATHE, where increasing numbers of English and theatre professors annually gather in August. We will seek ways in which to explore this opportunity with those gathered in Chicago, and we encourage those members unable to attend—or unwilling to bear the cold Chicago weather—to express your views to Chris or me by phone, fax or mail.
During 1994-95 Chris and I have continued our efforts to encourage membership by direct mail, advertisements, and attendance at conferences. Steven Price, European Secretary and Editor, has expanded our efforts abroad by sending promotional materials and membership invitations to the Departments of English, Drama and American Studies in more than fifty-nine universities and affiliated colleges in the United Kingdom, inclusive of Oxford, Cambridge, Stirling, East Anglia, Reading, Coventry and Edinburgh. Included in this mailing were a number of universities in Europe; thus, from Seville to the Sorbonne, Prague to Basle, Naples to Reykjavik the word is out. Expressions of interest are already being reflected in a growing membership, assuring us of broad interest in Mamet's art and artistry and of the inspired inquiry of like-minded individuals throughout the world. To that end, we look forward to including reviews from European members in the newsletter, and we welcome articles by members who have not previously contributed to The Dauid Mamet Review.
Much of the work involved in The David Mamet Society is ultimately completed by others. Thus, the Officers of the David Mamet Society would like to express their warm appreciation to a wide range of individuals who have worked closely with us to coordinate mailings, conference materials, and advertisements in a variety of media—some like the Yale Drama Review at no cost to the society—during the last year. We especially thank Ms. Sandy Cignoni, Executive Assistant to the Dean of Academic Affairs, Westfield State College, for facilitating the mailing to all members of the Constitution approved at the last meeting; Ms. Louise Ruck of UNLV's English Department for keeping our membership lists and budgets current; Ms. Becky Watson of UNLV's Publication Services for her invaluable assistance; the clerical staff of the Department of English at the University of Wales, and Prof. Karelisa Hartigan, Coordinator of the Comparative Drama Conference, University of Florida, Gainesville, for disseminating membership invitations, information and newsletter when neither Chris nor I could attend the conference.
On a more personal note, many of you know that I have taken academic leave this year to work on my Mamet book. Personal factors have contributed to my extending that leave so that I will not be returning to Westfield until late January 1996. You may, of course, write me at the Department of English, Westfield State College, and they will forward my mail; if you have either my personal address, phone, fax or e-mail address, please feel free to use them until Thanksgiving, at which time I will be relocating to the Boston area. I will continue to receive mail, fax and phone messages at Westfield State throughout the year. Also relocating this year is Deborah Geis, Book Review Editor. Please check her address in the membership mailing so that your review is sent to the Department of English, Queens College, rather than Tennessee, where she has been teaching for the past two years.
Finally, the Third Annual Meeting of the David Mamet Society promises to be a memorable event. In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the joint St. Nicholas/Goodman Theatre production of American Buffalo in October 1995, that transferred from the Goodman to the new home of the St. Nicholas Theatre on Halstead in December, we are delighted to offer a Special Session on December 29, 10:15-11:30, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, McCormick Suite. Prof. Hudgins will moderate, Profs. Henry I. Schvey, Robert Vorlicky, and I will present short papers, allowing an opportunity for our special honored guest, Mike Nussbaum—Teach in the December production— to speak about the production and, we hope, to take questions. I encourage you all to mark your calendars for what will no doubt to be the highlight of the MLA Chicago Convention. A business meeting for Board members and interested members of the society will be held at 5:15 P.M. on December 29 in my hotel room to discuss funding for the journal, format and timetable for submission and an editorial board, financial matters, and future planning, including attendance at ATHE. Please check "Who's Where" for my hotel in Chicago. As many of these issues require urgent response, if for some reason you are unable to attend either session, please contact Chris or me during or soon after the conference.
I look forward to seeing you all in Chicago. Bring your woollies!