The range of work produced by American playwright David Mamet is breathtaking.
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Besides having penned award-winning plays, he has written fiction, non-fiction and poetry as well as political essays and children’s books. He directed and wrote the screenplay for several feature films, and contributed to films directed by Sydney Lumet and Brian de Palma. A driven artist, he has said that he writes to get “these characters out of my head.”
Mamet received the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his play Glengarry Glen Ross. Many may remember the 1992 film directed by James Foley, for which Mamet wrote the screenplay.
Montrealers will have a chance to see the original play at The Segal Centre, as artistic producer Paul Flicker makes his directorial debut.
“I am delighted to make my first steps as a director with David Mamet’s incredible text,” Flicker says. “Glengarry Glen Ross was written at the height of Mamet’s dramatic and literary power and remains as completely mesmerizing and relevant as when it was first performed in 1983.”
Drawing on Mamet’s personal experience working in a real estate office in the ’60s, the play chronicles two days in the life of four desperate salesmen who’ll do anything to make a sale, even if it means pushing plots of undesirable land to unwitting prospective buyers. Then a high-stakes contest pits the men against each other and the tension mounts.
Flicker talks about Mamet’s distinctive writing style, referred to by some as “Mametspeak.” He calls it explosive, using often vulgar dialogue. “A candid and powerful voice, Mamet challenges his audiences with spare and gritty works that explore the key cultural and political issues of our time.”
On his own style, Mamet said, “In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, based solely on our ability to speak the language viciously. That’s probably where my ability was honed.”
The Segal production stars R.H. Thomson, Michel Perron, Graham Cuthbertson, Mike Paterson and Tristan D. Lalla, and comes with a strong language warning.
March 16-30. 514-739-7944, segalcentre.org.