Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

Overview

What makes good drama? How does drama matter in our lives? In Three Uses of the Knife, one of America's most respected writers reminds us of the secret powers of the play. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, poet, essayist, and director, David Mamet celebrates the absolute necessity of drama - and the experience of great plays - in our lurching attempts to make sense of ourselves and our world.

In three tightly woven essays of characteristic force and resonance, ...

See more details below
Paperback
$10.29
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$13.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (34) from $2.99   
  • New (15) from $6.97   
  • Used (19) from $2.99   
Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

What makes good drama? How does drama matter in our lives? In Three Uses of the Knife, one of America's most respected writers reminds us of the secret powers of the play. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, poet, essayist, and director, David Mamet celebrates the absolute necessity of drama - and the experience of great plays - in our lurching attempts to make sense of ourselves and our world.

In three tightly woven essays of characteristic force and resonance, Mamet speaks about the connection of art to life, language to power, imagination to survival, the public spectacle to the private script.

It is our fundamental nature to dramatize everything. As Mamet says, "Our understanding of our life, of our drama . . . . resolves itself into thirds: Once Upon a Time . . . . Years Passed . . . . And Then One Day." We inhabit a drama of daily life - waiting for a bus, describing a day's work, facing decisions, making choices, finding meaning. The essays in the book are an eloquent reminder of how life is filled with the small scenes of tragedy and comedy that can be described only as drama.

First-rate theater, Mamet writes, satisfies the human hunger for ordering the world into cause-effect-conclusion. A good play calls for the protagonist "To create, in front of us, on the stage, his or her own character, the strength to continue. It is her striving to understand, to correctly assess, to face her own character (in her choice of battles) that inspires us - and gives the drama power to cleanse and enrich our own character." Drama works, in the end, when it supplies the meaning and wholeness once offered by magic and religion - an embodied journey from lie to truth, arrogance to wisdom.

Mamet also writes of bad theater; of what it takes to write a play, and the often impossibly difficult progression from act to act; the nature of soliloquy; the contentless drama and empty theatrics of politics and popular entertainment; the ubiquity of stage and literary conventions in the most ordinary of lives; and the uselessness, finally, of drama - or any art - as ideology or propaganda.

-One of America's leading living playwrights has crafted three short essays beginning iwth the premise that it is 'our nature to dramatize'...It will be compelling to students of theater and serves as a good companion to Mamet's advice to actors, True and False. -Library Journal -He writes with thrilling simplicity and authority, discussing problems all working playwrights confront...Calm, cool, carefully measured meditations of a man passionate about the truth and determined to share his ideas. -A. L. A. Booklist

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Mamet] brings his usual passion and provocation to his treatise on what makes good drama." —Vanity Fair

"No modern playwright has been bolder or more brilliant." —The New Yorker

"Pinter, Albee, Miller. They're all looking over Mamet's shoulder." —New York

"David Mamet adds yet another segment to a body of work that puts him among the great writers of this, or any other, time." —Joe Mantegna

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
The New Yorker
No modern playwright has been bolder or more brilliant.
New York
Pinter, Albee, Miller. They're all looking over Mamet's shoulder.
Vanity Fair
[Mamet] brings his usual passion and provacation to his treatise on what makes good drama.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375704239
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 434,249
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mamet is the author of the plays Oleanna; Glengarry Glen Ross, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award; Speed the Plow; and Sexual Perversity in Chicago, among others. His films include, as screenwriter, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables, The Edge, and Wag of the Dog, and as writer/director, House of Games, Homicide, Things Change, and The Spanish Prisoner. He is also the author of children's books and four books of essays, Writing in Restaurants, Some Freaks, The Cabin, and Make Believe Town; two novels, The Village and The Old Religion and a book on acting, True and False.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

One the Wind-Chill Factor
The Perfect Ball Game
Anti-Stratfordianism
The Problem Play
Letters of Transit
Two. Second Act Problems
Violence
Self-Censorship
Three. Three Uses of the Knife
The Eleven O'Clock Song
The End of the Play


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)