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David Mamet

From Academic Kids

David Alan Mamet (born November 30, 1947) is an American playwright, screenwriter, director and poet born in Flossmoor, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Educated at the Francis W. Parker School and Goddard College and a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company, Mamet first gained acclaim for a trio of off-Broadway plays in 1976, The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and American Buffalo.

He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, which will receive its first Broadway revival in the summer of 2005. His work is characterized by playful plots overturning conventions and typically features strong male characters and their tough posturings, rhythmically profane dialogue, and charged verbal confrontations. His first screenplay was the 1981 production of The Postman Always Rings Twice based upon James M. Cain's novel. He was given an Academy Award nomination for his next script, The Verdict.

In 1987 Mamet made his film directing debut with House of Games, starring his then-wife, Lindsay Crouse and a host of longtime stage associates. He remains a prolific writer and director, and has assembled an informal repertory company for his films, including William H. Macy, Joe Mantegna, Crouse, Rebecca Pidgeon (his wife since 1991), and Ricky Jay.

Like independent director John Sayles, Mamet funds his own films with the pay he gets from credited and uncredited rewrites of typically big-budget films. For instance, Mamet has done rewrites of the scripts for Hannibal and Hoffa, and turned in an early version of a script for Malcolm X that director Spike Lee rejected.

Three of Mamet's own films, House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner, and Heist have involved the world of confidence tricksters.

Mamet has published two novels, The Village in 1994 and The Old Religion in 1997. He has also written several non-fiction texts as well as a number of poems and children's stories. For his film work, he sometimes writes under the name "Richard Weisz."

As a drama practitioner, he argues in his book True and False against the practice of teaching drama students the 'method' of Constantin Stanislavski. For Mamet, time spent searching for emotion memory or considering character's biographies is time wasted, and he suspects that it is an academic bluff working to keep actors uncertain.

He recommends a simple, honest style of acting, where the actor's job is to learn the lines, find their mark, and speak up simply. Work on character, he asserts, is the playwright's job.

In July 2004, Cambridge University Press published The Cambridge Companion to David Mamet, edited by Christopher Bigsby. The book includes essays analyzing Mamet's biography, his impact during various decades, and several of his plays.

Since May 2005 he's been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

Contents

Filmography

Plays

Books

External link

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