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

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

by David Mamet
 

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The purpose of theater, like magic, like religion . . . is to inspire cleansing awe. What makes good drama? And why does drama matter in an age that is awash in information and entertainment? David Mamet, one of our greatest living playwrights, tackles these questions with bracing directness and aphoristic authority. He believes that the tendency to

Overview

The purpose of theater, like magic, like religion . . . is to inspire cleansing awe. What makes good drama? And why does drama matter in an age that is awash in information and entertainment? David Mamet, one of our greatest living playwrights, tackles these questions with bracing directness and aphoristic authority. He believes that the tendency to dramatize is essential to human nature, that we create drama out of everything from today’s weather to next year’s elections. But the highest expression of this drive remains the theater.
         With a cultural range that encompasses Shakespeare, Bretcht, and Ibsen, Death of a Salesman and Bad Day at Black Rock, Mamet shows us how to distinguish true drama from its false variants. He considers the impossibly difficult progression between one act and the next and the mysterious function of the soliloquy. The result, in Three Uses of the Knife, is an electrifying treatise on the playwright’s art that is also a strikingly original work of moral and aesthetic philosophy. 

Editorial Reviews

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.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804151085
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/14/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
610,088
File size:
2 MB

What People are Saying About This

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

Meet the Author

David Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, as well as a director, novelist, poet, and essayist. He has written the screenplays for more than twenty films, including Heist, Spartan, House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, The Winslow Boy, Wag the Dog, and the Oscar-nominated The Verdict. His more than twenty plays include Oleanna, The Cryptogram, Speed-the-Plow, American Buffalo, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and the Pulitzer Prizewinning Glengarry Glen Ross. Born in Chicago in 1947, Mamet has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University, and Goddard College, and is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company.

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