Writing in Restaurants

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Overview

Temporarily putting aside his role as playwright, director, and screen-writer, David Mamet digs deep and delivers thirty outrageously diverse vignettes. On subjects ranging from the vanishing American pool hall, family vacations, and the art of being a bitch, to the role of today's actor, his celebrated contemporaries and predecessors, and his undying commitment to the theater, David Mamet's concise style, lean dialogue, and gut-wrenching honesty give us a unique view of the ...

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Overview

Temporarily putting aside his role as playwright, director, and screen-writer, David Mamet digs deep and delivers thirty outrageously diverse vignettes. On subjects ranging from the vanishing American pool hall, family vacations, and the art of being a bitch, to the role of today's actor, his celebrated contemporaries and predecessors, and his undying commitment to the theater, David Mamet's concise style, lean dialogue, and gut-wrenching honesty give us a unique view of the world as he sees it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mamet believes the proper function of the actor or playwright in our ``dying'' civilization is to get to the heart of what is essential in all of us and establish a communion among listeners. He feels that most acting today is mechanical because of society's demand for reassurance that nothing will change, that we are safe. In these short, hard-hitting essays, the well-known playwright (American Buffalo, etc.) delves into the collective mentality of the American theater, which, he maintains, acts as a brake on the creativity of producers and dramatists. Mamet looks at the hidden politics of the theater, how actors are manipulated and controlled by directors. He rails against the electronic amplification of the live stage. Among the themes explored are why radio is a great training ground for writers, theater as an arena for dreams and the subconscious, Tennessee Williams's dramatic mission, and the craze for fashion as a symptom of the middle class's sterile lifestyle and loss of the ability to fantasize. (December)
Library Journal
The title of Mamet's first collection of essays and speeches certainly doesn't suggest the themes of commitment and excellence. Nevertheless, if a collection of 28 essays on a variety of topics can be said to have an overarching theme or themes, then surely commitment and excellence sound clearly. These essays, apparently written over a considerable span of years, treat topics ranging from radio drama through middle-class fashion trends to the Academy Awards and the use of amplification in theaters. In nearly all of them, however, Mamet finds his way back to his twin themes. Some of the most rewarding efforts are ``Radio Drama,'' ``Acting,'' and ``Notes on The Cherry Orchard .'' Mamet's sense of humor is also evident. Libraries that have his dramatic works will also want this. Theodore O. Wohlsen, Jr., Connecticut State Lib., Hartford
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140089813
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1987
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 969,592
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mamet 's Glengarry Glen Ross won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984. He is also the author of Writing in Restaurants and On Directing Film, both available from Penguin.

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Table of Contents

Writing in Restaurants Preface
Acknowledgments
I. Writing in Restaurants
Capture-the-Flag, Monotheism, and the Techniques of Arbitration
A National Dream-Life
Radio Drama
A Tradition of the Theater as Art
First Principles
Stanislavsky and the American Bicentennial
An Unhappy Family
Some Thoughts on Writing in Restaurants

II. Exuvial Magic
Exuvial Magic: An Essay Concerning Fashion
True Stories of Bitches
Notes for a Catalog for Raymond Saunders
Decadence
A Family Vacation
Semantic Chickens
Chicago
On Paul Ickovic's Photographs
A Playwright in Hollywood
Oscars
Pool Halls
Things I Have Learned Playing Poker on the Hill

III. Life in the Theater
Epitaph for Tennessee Williams
Regarding A Life in the Theater
Concerning The Water Engine
Decay: Some Thoughts for Actors, Theodore Spencer Memorial Lecture, Harvard, February 10, 1986
Notes on The Cherry Orchard
Acting
Realism
Against Amplification
Address to the American Theater Critics Convention at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 25, 1978
Observations of a Backstage Wife

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