Category Archives: Mamet David

Reunion: δύο μονόπρακτα του David Mamet

Το θέατρο ΤΟΠΟΣ ΑΛΛΟΥ παρουσιάζει στη σκηνή ΣΤΑΘΗΣ ΣΥΡΟΣ από την Παρασκευή 22 Οκτωβρίου δύο μονόπρακτα του David Mamet με τον γενικό τίτλο «REUNION», σε σκηνοθεσία του νεαρού σκηνοθέτη Γρηγόρη Ρέντη. Μία Κυριακή του 1973, η εικοσιτετράχρονη Κάρολ επισκέπτεται τον πατέρα της, Μπέρνι, στο διαμέρισμά του. Έχουν να βρεθούν 20 χρόνια από τότε που ο Μπέρνι χώρισε με την μητέρα της. Εκείνη έχει έρθει να βρει λύση στην αδιέξοδη ζωή της. Εκείνος τη δέχεται για να περισώσει ότι αξίζει από το τσαλακωμένο παρελθόν του. Στην διάρκεια ενός απογεύματος θα προσπαθήσουν να παραδεχθούν τα λάθη τους με την ελπίδα ότι θα έχουν ένα κοινό μέλλον.

  • Μετάφραση: Παναγιώτης Ευαγγελίδης
  • Σκηνοθεσία: Γρηγόρης Ρέντης
  • Δραματουργός: Αρασέλη Λαιμού
  • Σκηνικά: Καλλιόπη Ανδρεάδη
  • Κοστούμια: Αρασέλη Λαιμού
  • Φωτισμοί: Σοφία Αδαμοπούλου
  • Παίζουν : Γιάννης Κοκιασμένος, Κάτια Γκουλιώνη

Θέατρο Τόπος Αλλού
Κεφαλληνίας 17 & Κυκλάδων, Αθήνα (Κυψέλη)   Τηλ: +302108656004

  • Από  22/10/2010 έως  19/12/2010
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In Mametland, a Skirmish in Black and Whit

The New York Times: December 7, 2009

No sooner had the curtain fallen on David Mamet’s “Race” the other night than the predominantly white audience rose, smiling, to its feet. Standing ovations on Broadway have become a conditioned reflex, but this one seemed a shade more self-conscious and self-congratulatory than usual. You could argue this was the perfect coda to a play that examines the self-consciousness that descends on American white people when they talk about, or to, black people.

But that easy demonstration of approval didn’t feel like a reaction to gladden the heart of a dramatist hoping to provoke, to stir, to disturb. As the cast, led by an excellent James Spader, took its curtain calls, there was a relieved feeling that the surprisingly slack “Race,” which opened Sunday night at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, had registered well within the comfort zone of those watching it.

Though the play made pointed use of sexual and ethnic words that are still seldom heard in polite discussion, these elicited far more giggles than gasps. I couldn’t help longing for the days when a new play by Mr. Mamet so knocked the breath out of you that you wouldn’t think of standing up afterward until you were sure your legs would support you.

“Race,” directed by its author, is a definite improvement on Mr. Mamet’s previous new work on Broadway, “November,” which last year presented Nathan Lane as a sitting American president who talked like a dirty sitcom. Though the first act of “Race” is similarly propelled by barbed one-liners, its second act offers reassuring evidence of Mr. Mamet’s scalpel-edged intelligence. And the issues it raises, particularly on the ethnic varieties of shame and the universal nature of guilt, should offer ample nutrition for many a post-theater dinner conversation.

Yet despite the tension of its subject, and an abundance of the corkscrew plot twists for which Mr. Mamet is known, “Race” lacks real dramatic tension. The fine four-member cast — which also includes David Alan Grier, Richard Thomas and Kerry Washington — never acquires that crackling, syncopated urgency that makes a Mamet play sing and sting. It’s as if the topic at hand were too important to be dressed up with the distractions of style.

In its opening scene, set in the conference room of a law firm (designed with tome-laden stateliness by Santo Loquasto), “Race” suggests it might be a jurisprudence-minded variation on Mr. Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow” (which was revived exhilaratingly on Broadway in 2008, also at the Barrymore). Here, instead of two movie producers conversing in the cynical insider language of their trade, we have two lawyers, equally fluent in their jaded professional lingo: Jack Lawson (the white Mr. Spader) and Henry Brown (the black Mr. Grier).

As in “Speed-the-Plow” there is also a female neophyte in the picture, who may not be as naïve as she seems and — being a woman in a play by David Mamet — is likely to throw a wrench into the masculine machinery. That’s Susan (a subdued Ms. Washington), a new African-American recruit who has arrived in time to be on the team of what promises to be the firm’s stickiest case: the defense of Charles Strickland (Mr. Thomas), a rich and famous white guy accused of raping a young black woman.

The question of Strickland’s guilt leads to a broader examination of cultural conscience and paranoia. At the same time Mr. Mamet delivers a topical detective story, with sequins among the prime evidentiary clues.

Jack and Henry’s initial interview of their prospective client allows them to deliver knowing epigrams about the amorality of the legal profession and the parasitic nature of the news media. More important, the encounter lets Mr. Mamet dissect the layers of perception that come into play any time white versus black (and man versus woman, and have versus have-not) is the center of a sensational trial. The race of each character informs these perceptions as well, though not always how you would expect.

“You want to tell me about black folks?” says Henry, baiting the distressed but indignant Charles as the play begins. There follows a list of the stereotypes that dare not speak their name when it comes to the contemplation of African-Americans by their Caucasian counterparts, and Mr. Mamet runs with increasingly elaborate riffs on that theme.

Some of these might once have shocked, but by now most have been thoroughly excavated by black stand-up comics, from Richard Pryor to Chris Rock. Know, though, that Mr. Mamet is also laying the foundation for broader, even existential questions — including the shared human need to confess and atone — and for some “gotcha” revelations in the second half. (Even with the 12-minute intermission specified in the program, the play clocks in at well under two hours.)

An assured craftsman, Mr. Mamet builds his structure with precision and with what feels like a certain weariness with his own facility. What’s lacking is the fusion of story, theme and character that lends bona fide suspense to his plays. In “American Buffalo,” “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Oleanna” (which received a less-than-exemplary Broadway production this season), the dialogue is fueled by the desperation of the characters. Much of the excitement in listening to them comes from hearing how their words, initially used as tools and weapons, become their prisons.

In “Race” words accumulate less into portraits than attitudes. Obviously there’s a lot at stake for the people of “Race,” especially for Charles, whom Mr. Thomas portrays with a cunning air of masochistic martyrdom. But there’s only one real character in the play, a paucity you become fully aware of in the second act.

That’s when you realize there’s more to Jack than the stance of a predatory legal eagle who surveys humanity from contemptuous heights. (“I think all people are stupid,” Jack says, answering a question from Susan. “I don’t think blacks are exempt.”) It turns out that Jack’s own confused notions of race are embodied in one specific relationship, and that Mr. Spader has been quietly defining that relationship, and its impact on Jack’s behavior, from the get-go.

Having put in many television seasons playing cynical lawyers (“The Practice,” “Boston Legal”), Mr. Spader could play Jack with his heavy-lidded eyes closed. He keeps them wide open, and considers every inflection and gesture in creating the one role in “Race” with more layers than the who’s-scamming-whom plot. He’s good enough to make you wish that Mr. Mamet had given his other actors the same opportunity.

RACE

Written and directed by David Mamet; sets by Santo Loquasto; costumes by Tom Broecker; lighting by Brian MacDevitt; production stage manager, Matthew Silver; technical supervisor, Hudson Theatrical Associates; company manager, Bruce Klinger; associate producer, Jeremy Scott Blaustein; general manager, Richards/Climan Inc. Presented by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jam Theatricals, JK Productions, Peggy Hill and Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Scott M. Delman, Terry Allen Kramer/James L. Nederlander, Swinsky Deitch, Bat-Barry Productions, Ronald Frankel, James Fuld Jr., Kathleen K. Johnson, Terry Schnuck, the Weinstein Company, Marc Frankel and Jay and Cindy Gutterman/Stewart Mercer. At the Ethel Barrymore Theater, 243 West 47th Street, Manhattan; (212) 239-6200. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

WITH: James Spader (Jack Lawson), David Alan Grier (Henry Brown), Kerry Washington (Susan) and Richard Thomas (Charles Strickland).

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

From left, James Spader, David Alan Grier and Richard Thomas in “Race,” written and directed by David Mamet, at the Ethel Barrymore Theater.

So Many Dark Sides (November 29, 2009)
The New Season | Theater: We Can’t Stop Talking About Race in America (September 13, 2009)
Times Topics: David Mamet

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Kerry Washington plays a neophyte at a law firm tackling a racially charged case.

Race… [Barrymore Theatre, New York]

Writer and director David Mamet

Breaking taboos … playwright and director David Mamet. Photograph: Jill Connelly/Reuters

David Mamet wrote one of the most controversial plays of the late 20th century with Oleanna, in which a female student accuses her professor of sexual harassment. And in the Broadway season that includes a revival of that 1992 drama, Mamet has added a savage companion piece dealing with another heat-seeking political topic, declared in the play’s title: race.

As the posters jokingly note, a dramatist celebrated for introducing expletives to the American theatre now tackles a truly taboo four-letter word. Race, as one character says, is «the single most incendiary topic in our history». Another speaker observes that «only black people can speak about race,» a carefully placed self-defensive punch from a white playwright entering this verbally and politically charged arena.

As in Oleanna, Mamet approaches the subject through an accusation. A white tycoon, charged with raping a young black woman, has selected to represent him a law firm in which one of the two partners is African-American, as is the clerk working for the attorneys on the case. The play’s strategy is to examine – and to tempt an audience to second-guess – the part that racial background may play in the decision over whether to represent the alleged racist rapist. The white partner contends that the case is unwinnable because white jurors will fear being accused of racism and black jurors of treachery if they acquit.

This line is also clearly a warning to the audience – again, as in Oleanna, cast as pseudo-jurors – to police their own reactions to the situations presented. As cleverly as in The Winslow Boy, the Terence Rattigan courtroom drama Mamet once adapted as a movie, the interpretation of details – a red dress, a comment overheard through a motel wall – shifts.

Above such twists, though, Mamet is most concerned with the power and treachery of language: a line of dialogue vital to the prosecution case is cynically rewritten by the defence. Mamet’s larger contention is that attempts to create a more equal and tolerant society have made race an unsayable word. The writer, who has faced claims that his plays require TV-style bleep machines, brilliantly contrives here a moment in which the single most taboo sexual expletive is ignored by an audience which then gasps at the word «black».

Mamet directs a swift, gripping, 100-minute staging cast with sharp attention to TV history. James Spader is known for Sex, Lies and Videotape and the TV series Boston Legal, while, as the defendant, Richard Thomas brings the moral baggage of his long involvement in The Waltons. Kerry Washington, as the law clerk on whom the play turns, appeared in Neil La Bute’s film Lakeview Terrace, a thought-provoking racial drama from a white dramatist, and has here found another for her Broadway debut. Mamet remains American theatre’s most urgent five-letter word.

Ντέιβιντ Μάμετ «Speed-the-Plow». Τώρα στο Μπροντγουέι

Νέα Υόρκη. Barrymore Theatre

http://www.speedtheplowonbroadway.com

«Speed-the-Plow». Μετά τη θριαμβευτική παρουσίασή του στο Λονδίνο, με πρωταγωνιστές τον Κέβιν Σπέισι και τον Τζεφ Γκόλντμπλαμ, το έργο του Ντέιβιντ Μάμετ, καυστική σάτιρα του Χόλιγουντ, ανέβηκε σε νέα παραγωγή στο Μπροντγουέι σκηνοθετημένο από τον Νιλ Πέπε. Πρωταγωνιστούν ο βραβευμένος με Εmmy (για τον ρόλο του στην τηλεοπτική σειρά Entourage) Τζέρεμι Πίβεν, ο Ραούλ Εσπάρζα και η Ελίζαμπεθ Μος. [Mατιές στον κόσμο. Eπιμέλεια: Αγγελική Στουπάκη, Η Καθημερινή, 21/12/08]

Εκαναν τον γίγαντα νάνο

ΠΡΟΣΩΠΙΚΗ ΜΑΤΙΑ

Αν πάνω-κάτω γνωρίζετε τη δραματουργία του Ντέιβιντ Μάμετ, λίγο-πολύ θα χρειαστεί να την ξεχάσετε. Διαφορετικά, μη διανοηθείτε να περάσετε το κατώφλι του θεάτρου «Εμπορικόν», όπου παρουσιάζεται ο «Νοέμβριός» του, σαρωτική σάτιρα της πολιτικής σκηνής των ΗΠΑ και ίσως -τι ειρωνεία!- απ’ τα πιο επίκαιρα έργα που παίζονται σε ελληνική σκηνή. Γιατί ο «Νοέμβριος» έχει μεταλλαχθεί τόσο πολύ στην ελληνική εκδοχή του, ώστε δεν έγινε μόνο… αγνώριστος. Κατάντησε και αφάνταστα κουραστικός.

Φυσικά, πρέπει να το παραδεχτούμε: ο φετινής σοδειάς «Νοέμβριος» -γράφτηκε το 2008- δεν είναι ούτε «Οικόπεδα με Θέα» ούτε «Αμερικάνικος Βούβαλος» ούτε «Ολεάνα». Οπως έγραψαν οι «New York Times», είναι «ένας Μάμετ για όσους δεν πολυσυμπαθούν τον Μάμετ». Ο δραματουργός το έριξε έξω και παιγνιωδώς συνέγραψε μια ευφυή, ξεκαρδιστική κωμωδία των αμερικανικών ηθών.

Δεύτερη παραδοχή: κανένας δεν μας έκρυψε ότι ο Θοδωρής Πετρόπουλος δεν υπογράφει μια πιστή μετάφραση, αλλά μια θεατρική διασκευή. Αναμφίβολα, καμιά υστεροβουλία ή κακεντρέχεια δεν υποκρύπτεται πίσω απ’ την κομματάκι βάναυση επέμβασή του. Απλούστατα, ισχύει το «ο καθείς και τα όπλα του». Τι δείγματα γραφής μάς έχει μέχρι στιγμής δώσει ο δεινός διασκευαστής; Εχει «φιλοτεχνήσει» ενδεχομένως τις πιο γκροτέσκες, χοντροκομμένες φάρσες ή διασκευές που έχει δει τελευταία η ελληνική σκηνή. Κι αυτές με υπερβάλλοντα ζήλο -στο διπλό ρόλο σκηνοθέτη και πρωταγωνιστή- τις έχει υπηρετήσει ο Χρήστος Χατζηπαναγιώτης: ο σκηνοθέτης και πρωταγωνιστής (στο ρόλο του πανηλίθιου πλανητάρχη) και του «Νοεμβρίου». Αμφότεροι, δηλαδή, δεν έκαναν τίποτα άλλο απ’ το να φέρουν στα δικά τους μέτρα τον σπουδαίο, ακόμη και στην ελαφρύτερη εκδοχή του, Αμερικανό δραματουργό. Από θεατρικό γίγαντα τον μεταμόρφωσαν σε τηλεοπτικό νάνο. Δεν μας φταίει, λοιπόν, κανένας. Μόνον εμείς, που σπεύσαμε στο «Εμπορικόν» περιμένοντας -οι ανόητοι- να δούμε Μάμετ.

ΙΩΑΝΝΑ ΚΛΕΦΤΟΓΙΑΝΝΗ, ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΟΤΥΠΙΑ – 25/11/2008